by NYRA Press Office
Godolphin's homebred Enticed has emerged from his 2 ¾-length victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham for 3-year-olds at a mile at Aqueduct Racetrack in good order, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Sunday morning.
"All is well," McLaughlin said by phone. "He came out of the race in great shape."
Currently ranked second on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 63 qualifying points, Enticed earned 50 points for his win in the Gotham to secure the sophomore Medaglia d'Oro colt a berth in the Kentucky Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs.
Enticed is scheduled to fly back to South Florida on Monday to rejoin his trainer's main winter string at Palm Meadows, where he'll train for a likely bid in the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial on April 7 at the Big A.
"He'll come back here and train in Florida just because it worked well," said McLaughlin. "The main goal, obviously, is the first Saturday in May, but the Wood would make the most sense. We've still got to talk more about it, but we will look at the Wood Memorial."
In the Gotham, Enticed broke from the outside post in the field of nine and settled in an outside stalking position under jockey Junior Alvarado. He easily overtook the pacesetting Old Time Revival in the stretch and was geared down by Alvarado in the final yards.
The Gotham was the second race of the year for Enticed, who won the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club by a head in November. In his seasonal debut, he finished a well-beaten fourth in the Grade 2 Holy Bull at 1 1/16 miles on February 3 at Gulfstream Park, where he raced along the rail in the middle of the pack and failed to menace, finishing 14 ¾ lengths behind Audible.
"I said before this race that it really wasn't a comfortable race for him last time down on the inside," said McLaughlin. "So, I drew a line through the Holy Bull. We had confidence yesterday and I'm happy Tex Sutton got us there.
"I loved the post position being on the outside for a clean trip and Junior rode him great," he added. "He answered questions for us for sure, in that he needed to run a big race to stay on course for the Derby. He did that yesterday, so we'll keep going. He's a big sound horse with a great mind. We just want to keep him the way he is. We should be in good shape."
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Fred J. Brei's Old Time Revival returned to his home base at Laurel Park a day after his front-running performance notched himself a second-place finish behind Enticed in Saturday's Grade 3 Gotham. His next start could come in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial on April 7 at Aqueduct, according to trainer Kenneth Decker.
"He ran a rally nice race yesterday," Decker said Sunday morning. "We're super pleased with how he ran and how he came out of the race. For now, we'll take it day to day. We're going to try and stretch him out, and we've got our eye on the Wood. If everything is good with the way he comes back, we're pretty serious on coming to the Wood. I would say it's a pretty good chance. We'll stretch him out and see how it goes."
The Gotham was the first graded stakes for the Florida-bred son of Brethren, and the second straight runner-up finish after he was nipped at the wire in the one-mile $100,000 Miracle Wood at Laurel in his last start.
The Gotham was the first time the colt raced outside of Laurel and also the first time he was ridden by Jeremy Rose, the fourth rider to sit aboard the colt after Steve Hamilton, who was aboard for Old Time Revival's last two starts couldn't get to New York.
"Steve couldn't make the trip," said Decker. "I just got the call from the jock's room, and we put Jeremy on him. He's a veteran rider, and we were pleased with how he rode him. He really likes the colt. He said he drifted out a bit in the last part, but the colt is learning and improving so we're happy right now."
Old Time Revival now has one win, two seconds and a third finish from six career starts with earnings of $108,400.
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Owner-trainer David Jacobson reported Sunday morning that Harlan Punch came out of his head-turning seven-length victory in the $150,000 Stymie no worse for the wear.
On Saturday at Aqueduct, the 5-year-old Harlan's Holiday gelding picked up his third consecutive victory and captured his first stakes win on less than a week's rest to power home a clear winner under jockey Dylan Davis and earn a preliminary 105 Beyer Speed Figure.
"He came back very good," said Jacobson. "Watching the replay, his performance looked even better the next day. We knew he was fit and we were expecting him to run well, but he really outperformed our expectations. Dylan gave him a great ride."
Harlan Punch is nominated to Saturday's Harrison E. Johnson at Laurel Park, but Jacobson noted that another start at the Big A is also under consideration.
"He's nominated for the stakes at Laurel, but we're not sure we're going to go there yet," said Jacobson. "We may just stay in New York. He obviously loves it here and has been running well, so we'll keep all options on the table."
On Saturday, Jacobson also saddled 6-year-old Great Stuff, who ran late to finish third in the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap at six furlongs.
"He also came out of his race good," Jacobson said of the son of Quality Road. "I believe he may need to go a little bit longer. Dylan wasn't able to give him a breather at all and really had to stay on him throughout. I think with a little bit more distance it might benefit him to where he can change gears and really come on again late."
Jacobson said the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter Handicap at seven furlongs on Wood Memorial Day, April 7, could fit the bill for Great Stuff.
"The Carter is certainly under consideration," added Jacobson. "We'll take things day by day and see where we go from there."
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When Old Time Revival set the pace and valiantly held on to nab the runner up spot in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, it not only propelled the 3-year-old into the Triple Crown picture, it vaulted Karen Casey into first place in the Gotham Handicapping Challenge, held at Aqueduct.
Casey, a registered nurse from Manhattan, successfully hit a $10 Trifecta in the race, netting $5,695 which vaulted her into first place from 125 participants.
The Gotham Challenge, a $500 entry fee live-money handicapping challenge with $250 directly deposited to the prize pool and the remaining $250 comprising each player's live bankroll, featured races on Saturday from Aqueduct Racetrack, Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs.
"I was stunned," Casey said when the field crossed the wire in the Triple Crown prep race. "I couldn't believe it. [It was] very exciting."
Casey said she has been following handicappers on Twitter and listening to podcasts, especially Pete Fornatale, and learned that successful players had been winning similar events by playing trifectas. She said that in previous events she focused on exactas, but decided trifectas were the way to go in the Gotham Challenge.
Her second strategy was to focus on speed horses at Aqueduct, she said. That led her to Old Time Revival, who had shown early speed in all of his races and once again disputed the pace in the Gotham, where he held the lead until late in the stretch.
"Speed was running so well all day at Aqueduct, so I just threw the 7 in there," Casey said. "That wasn't my main tri, but I took a shot in the last race since speed was playing well. I keyed a $10 tri, 9 with 6,7."
Casey said she first fell in love with horse racing as a youngster. A native of New Jersey, she fondly recalls her father taking her to Monmouth Park. She took a break from following racing while raising her children but reconnected with it in 2007 after a trip to Saratoga.
Picking up the first-place prize of $5,000, Casey also earned $5,985 on the day from her live-money wagers. With her victory, she also won a seat to the 2018 Belmont Stakes Challenge. In second-place was Peter Yan, with $2,049 from the prize pool and $3,845 in live money and one seat to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas. Michael Cavana finished in third-place, netting $1,567 from the prize pool and $2,567.75 in live money wagers earning the remaining seat to the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship.
The next Handicapping Challenge the New York Racing Association will host is the Wood Memorial Challenge on Saturday, April 7. The winner of that contest is guaranteed a minimum first place prize of $5,000, with a seat to the 2018 Belmont Stakes Challenge and two seats to the National Horseplayers Championship in February 2019 up for grabs.
Registration is available for the Wood Memorial Challenge at NYRA.com/Challenge. Entrants may also earn a berth through qualifiers hosted at DRF.com and Horsetourneys.com.
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Registration is now open for the New York Racing Association's annual Community Day on Thursday, June 7 during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival in Elmont, New York. Nonprofit organizations - including those benefitting military veterans, first responders, and thoroughbred aftercare - are encouraged to apply early to guarantee priority space.
The event will kick off the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, featuring three days of world-class racing June 7-9, and highlighted by the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, the final jewel of racing's celebrated Triple Crown.
The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, now in its fourth year, has become an annual "can't miss" event in the Long Island area, offering 18 high-quality stakes races, including six Grade 1s, coupled with premium hospitality and entertainment.
With thousands of fans in attendance each year, Community Day at Belmont Park offers local organizations the opportunity to foster relationships with members of the community and raise funds. The open house event will be held in the Grandstand from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
For space reservations or more information, please contact Vanessa R. Rodriguez, Manager of Community Relations and Public Affairs, at [email protected]