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Nov 24, 2021
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​Turned Aside set to defend title in Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship

by Keith McCalmont

D. J. Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Turned Aside will look to defend his title as part of a loaded overflow field assembled for Saturday’s 5th renewal of the $150,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up over the outer turf slated to close out the 10-race card, is one of four stakes on the day that includes the Grade 3, $400,000 Long Island for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going 1 1/2 miles on the inner turf; the $150,000 Discovery for sophomores going 1 1/8 miles on the main track; and the $100,000 Central Park at 1 1/16-miles on turf for 2-year-olds. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.

Turned Aside utilized a prominent trip in last year’s event to notch a 1 1/4-length score over Grade 1-winner El Tormenta, closing out a sophomore campaign for his former conditioner Linda Rice that included a win in the Grade 3 Quick Call at Saratoga Race Course.

The 4-year-old American Pharoah colt was purchased for $725,000 at the 2021 Keeneland January Horses of all Ages Sale and transferred to the care of Hall of Famer Mark Casse,

Although winless in four starts this season, Turned Aside enters from a strong second in the Grade 2 Nearctic, a six-furlong turf sprint conducted over yielding turf on October 17 at Woodbine Racetrack.

With Kazushi Kimura up in the Nearctic, Turned Aside tracked the pace from third position and was game to split rivals down the lane but missed by a half-length to Avie’s Flatter, who had got the jump.

“I was frustrated - not because Kimura did anything wrong - but he just got held up. I thought he was the best horse in the race,” Casse said. “Frustrating on one hand, gratifying on the other hand. He showed his true colors and ran well. His last race was really good. Hopefully, we build on that and he gives us another big effort.”

Casse said Turned Aside has trained forwardly at Belmont out of the Nearctic effort, including a half-mile breeze in 49.17 seconds over Big Sandy on November 17.

“He’s doing great,” Casse said. “It’s been a challenge since we got him. Most of the issues have been with his feet, but we’ve got those in good order.”

Dylan Davis will pick up the mount from post 6.

Lael Stables' Arrest Me Red, trained by Wesley Ward, developed a foot abscess and was scratched out of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on November 6 at Del Mar, which was won by stablemate Golden Pal. 

The Pioneerof the Nile sophomore joined Ward's stable for his 3-year-old campaign, winning the Mahony in August at 5 1/2-furlongs over firm footing at the Spa. The talented bay followed with a gate-to-wire score in the six-furlong Grade 3 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational over firm going on October 2 at Belmont Park.

Ward said Arrest Me Red overcame a difficult pre-race appearance to win the Belmont Turf Sprint in impressive fashion.

"He did have a little issue there at Belmont. He's a real, easy going horse but he was fractious in the paddock saddling which continued on into the post parade. He got a little hot. Even though he won, it took away from what he could have done," Ward said. "I've never seen him do that before or since that day. I don't know what got into him but he still won, so it shows you what kind of horse we've got. He's a really nice horse and he ran a 100 Beyer even with those antics."

Arrest Me Red made four starts in a juvenile campaign for his former conditioner Arnaud Delacour, posting a first-out maiden win at Laurel Park in August 2020 and a two-length score in the six-furlong Atlantic Beach last November over the Big A turf.

Ward said Arrest Me Red has thrived since being sent to Saratoga in the summer.

"As soon as we got him up to Saratoga and worked him on the grass, he had a couple of eye-openers. We put him in the stake and he won. I really liked him that day and he did everything he was supposed to do," Ward said.

Paco Lopez will pilot Arrest Me Red from post 3.

Wachtel Stable, Pantofel Stable, and Jerold Zero’s multiple graded stakes placed Chewing Gum is winless in five starts this season and will look to burst that bubble from post 2 under Eric Cancel.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the 6-year-old Candy Ride bay was a closing second to stablemate Casa Creed in the Grade 1 Jackpocket Jaipur in June over good going at Belmont. Following off the board efforts in the Grade 3 Troy in August at Saratoga and Grade 3 Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs in September, Chewing Gum demonstrated a return to form with a close third in the Grade 3 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational.

“He looks very good right now. He looks as good as he has looked all season,” Mott said.

Klaravich Stables’ multiple graded-stakes placed Value Proposition, a 5-year-old son of Dansili trained by Chad Brown, enters from a prominent score in the seven-furlong Oyster Bay contested over good going on October 29 at Belmont that garnered a career-best 102 Beyer.

Value Proposition boasts a perfect in-the-money record this season of 6-3-1-2, including a strong second in the one-mile Grade 3 Forbidden Apple in July at Saratoga and a 2 3/4-length score in the one-mile Red Bank on September 4 at Monmouth Park.

Luis Saez retains the mount from post 7.

Trainer Christophe Clement, who won this event in 2018 with White Flag, has entered 4-year-old turf veterans Voodoo Zip and Maxwell Esquire.

West Point Thoroughbreds’ Voodoo Zip, by City Zip, will make his stakes debut out of a rallying optional-claiming win traveling six-furlongs over firm Belmont turf on October 9.

Voodoo Zip graduated in April over the Gulfstream Park grass and added an allowance score in July at Belmont.

“He’s won three races this year, which is a tough thing to do where we compete,” Clement said.

Patricia Generazio’s New York-homebred Maxwell Esquire, by Discreet Cat, finished fifth in last year’s Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship. A winner sprinting six furlongs over the Belmont turf in his seasonal debut in April, he enters from a closing third in the seven-furlong Oyster Bay contested over good going on October 29 at the Elmont oval.

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will pilot Voodoo Zip [AE11] should he draw in from the also-eligible list, while Dylan Davis has the call aboard Maxwell Esquire from post 1.

A loaded field also includes Lucky Coin-winner Pulsate [post 5, Manny Franco]; the 2018 Atlantic Beach champ Backtohisroots [post 9, Jose Lezcano]; Omaha City [post 4, Junior Alvarado], runner-up to Golden Pal in the Grade 3 Quick Call at the Spa; last-out Maryland Million Turf Sprint victor Grateful Bred [post 10, Trevor McCarthy]; and last-out optional-claiming winner Big Package [post 8, Jorge Vargas, Jr.] 

Also on the also-eligible list are the stakes-placed Cucina [AE12, Nik Juarez] along with main-track only entrants Happy Farm [AE13], Chateau [AE14] and Foolish Ghost [AE15].

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at

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