Dylan Davis hoping for more international success at Dubai World Cup
Mar 29, 2024
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Dylan Davis hoping for more international success at Dubai World Cup

by NYRA Press Ofiice

  • Dylan Davis hoping for more international success at Dubai World Cup
  • Russell sends Grade 3-winners Post Time to Grade 2 Carter, Apple Picker to Grade 3 Distaff
  • Yo Yo Candy eyeing return in $150K Bay Shore
  • Munny Grab targets Grade 3 Gazelle; Graded stakes-placed Stonewall Star has options after Biogio’s Rose victory
  • Aqueduct Racetrack spring meet Week 1 stakes probables

Jockey Dylan Davis tops all riders with 54 wins at the Aqueduct Racetrack winter meet, but the 29-year-old native of Manhasset, N.Y. will be 6,387 miles from the Big A when the meet concludes Saturday to ride at Meydan Racecourse for the first time when he guides Pandagate in the Group 2, $1 million UAE Derby and Clapton in the Group 1, $12 million Dubai World Cup.

“I've never been over there before, so I’m really excited,” said Davis after winning his fourth race on Thursday’s card at the Big A. “It means a lot. I worked my whole life to get to this stage and be competing against the best jocks in the world. It's incredible. The goal is to be in that elite group for the rest of my career.”

Live coverage of the Group 1 Dubai World Cup, slated as Race 9 at 12:35 p.m. Eastern, airs Saturday, March 30 on FS2 as part of the “Golden Hour” telecast from 12 – 1 p.m. Coverage of the Dubai World Cup undercard, featuring seven stakes races, will air live from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on FS2.

An additional seven hours of racing coverage will continue from 1 p.m. - 8 p.m. on FS2 as America's Day at the Races will air live racing from the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby card at Oaklawn Park and Closing Day of the winter meet from Aqueduct Racetrack.

Davis is undefeated aboard the New York-bred Pandagate, piloting the Arrogate grey to a nine-length debut score in a one-mile state-bred maiden tilt in October at Belmont at the Big A and a 5 1/2-length romp last out in the state-bred Gander on February 25 here going the same distance.

“I rode him the two times and he's never been challenged,” said Davis of Pandagate, who finished third under Victor Carrasco in an open-company allowance in December at Laurel Park. “I always thought he had a little bit left in reserve the way he gallops out with his ears up. He's really a nice horse to ride and does what you want him to do.”

Trained by Christophe Clement for owners Adelphi Racing Club, Madaket Stables, Corms Racing Stable and On The Rise Again Stable, Pandagate has made a good impression since arriving in Dubai last week.

“Pandagate looks incredible training over there. I’m really excited to ride him,” Davis said.

Davis has won two Grade 1 races in his career, both coming internationally at Woodbine Racetrack for Clement when capturing the 2021 E.P. Taylor with Mutamakina and last year’s Summer with Carson’s Run.

The veteran rider said the sweeping turns and long stretch at Meydan should suit the sizable Pandagate, who will depart stall 8 with a morning line assessment of 15-2 in the UAE Derby which is slated as Race 5 at 9:50 a.m.

“I've been watching a lot of replays and asked for a couple people's thoughts on the track,” Davis said. “It looks like a long stretch - the quarter-pole is after the corner - and Pandagate is going to love that. He’s a big striding horse and he gets added distance with the mile and three sixteenths.

“He drew more towards the outside so I'll have to do a little handicapping on that,” added Davis. “I'll try to get forward position and get in the clear - not necessarily in the first turn - but there's a lot of ground and a lot of stretch to work with.”

Bred in the Empire State by Fred W. Hertrich, III, the $130,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Preferred New York-bred Yearling Sale is out of the Clement-trained stakes-placed Sky Mesa mare Kitty Panda.

Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi’s RRR Racing’s Clapton is listed at 59-1 in the Dubai World Cup, but Davis said he will take a positive attitude when the duo depart stall 7 in a talented field that includes defending race champ Ushba Tesoro and last-out Group 1 Saudi Cup-winner Senor Buscador.

“He has a similar running style to Senor Buscador and Ushba Tesoro, so I’ll keep an eye on them to see when they make their move,” Davis said. “I’ll try to save as much ground as possible and make sure I make one nice, steady run to the wire.”

Trained by Chad Summers, the 5-year-old Brethren chestnut captured the Grade 2 Lukas Classic in September at Churchill Downs ahead of an off-the-board effort in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita Park. Clapton has finished third in two subsequent preps at Meydan in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge won by returning rival Kabirkhan and the Al Maktoum Classic captured by returning rival Military Law.

“I'm really excited to have the opportunity to ride Clapton in the World Cup,” Davis said. “It's a bucket list goal to ride that race at least once. I won't change the way I ride but I'll do my best and if I can win that would be incredible, but just to be there it's an honor.”

Davis won 63 races to capture the 2022 Aqueduct winter meet title as part of a tremendous season that saw him take 186 races to earn leading rider honors on the NYRA circuit. His 54 wins at the current Aqueduct winter meet see him boasting a five-win lead over Kendrick Carmouche, who will have eight mounts over the Friday and Saturday Big A cards to try and overtake pole position.

“I've won this title before and it would be great to win it again, but this was a sacrifice I had to make to have my best shot to win this weekend,” said Davis, who is represented by agent Michael Migliore. “My business has improved every year along with the quality of horses I’m riding. I have a big opportunity Saturday and I hope I can show my talent out there and continue to ride these types of races. I hope this is the first of many.”


Russell sends Grade 3-winners Post Time to Grade 2 Carter, Apple Picker to Grade 3 Distaff

Trainer Brittany Russell expects to saddle a pair of Grade 3-winners on Wood Memorial-day with Post Time in the Grade 2, $300,000 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets for older horses and Apple Picker in the Grade 3, $175,000 Distaff for older fillies and mares, both seven-furlong sprints, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Hillwood Stable’s Post Time made the grade last out with an off-the-pace rally in the seven-furlong, Grade 3 General George on February 17 at Laurel Park.

The 4-year-old Maryland-bred Frosted gray earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure in the effort at the Carter’s distance, nearly matching the 104 he garnered in the Restricted one-mile Jennings at the same site on January 28.

“The Carter looks like a nice stepping stone off of the General George. We wanted to give him some time off after that because we ran him back a little quick off the Maryland-bred race,” said Russell. “He’s been good at seven furlongs, he can probably go further, but this makes sense.”

Post Time has breezed back twice over the Fair Hill dirt, most recently covering a half-mile in 50 seconds flat on March 22.

“The plan is to give him a pretty good work here this weekend, to make sure we’re all set,” Russell said.

Bred by Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Dr. Brooke Bowman & Milton P. Higgins III, Post Time is out of the graded-stakes placed Fairbanks mare Vielsalm. He boasts a near-perfect 8-7-0-1 record with $417,910 in earnings with his only miss a third in Keeneland’s Perryville on October 21.

Michael Dubb’s Apple Picker will look to repeat Grade 3 success versus older fillies and mares after coming from 8 1/4-lengths back in last-of-7 to capture the seven-furlong Barbara Fritchie on February 17 at Laurel. The score improved upon two consecutive closing seconds in Laurel sprints in the Willa On the Move and Safely Kept.

“That’s her style. I thought she would like seven-eighths and to be honest with you, she was really touting herself going into that last race,” said Russell. “I was confident, it was just one of those weird things where I felt she was going to run a big race, and she did.”

The 4-year-old Connect filly’s grade-making performance earned a career-best 80 Beyer, exceeding the 79 from her last win in the Weather Vane in September at Pimlico Race Course.

Out of the Yes It’s True mare Silent Fright, Apple Picker is 12-4-2-0 with $330,783 in earnings. She broke her maiden on debut for trainer Rudy Rodriguez, before off-the-board efforts in graded stakes at Saratoga prior to the switch to Russell.

Sheldon Russell will retain the mounts on both Apple Picker and Post Time.

Russell said Mission Beach is under consideration for the Listed $150,000 Bay Shore, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores.

He was a disappointing seventh last out in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Withers over muddy and sealed footing on February 3 here for owners SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Dianne Bashor, Robert E. Masterson, Waves Edge Capital LLC, Catherine Donovan, and Tom Ryan.

“I’d like to shorten up. The Withers - you just kind of have to draw a line through it,” Russell said. “He’s just in a tough spot to be as a 3-year-old. You win your allowance and are kind of in no-man’s-land. I definitely think he’s a closing sprinter type, so we need to make a decision pretty quick.”

The 4-year-old Curlin bay, a $400,000 purchase at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, began his career with Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, breaking his maiden on debut in August at Del Mar.

Mission Beach’s subsequent outings were off-the-board finishes in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga Race Course and Grade 3 Bob Hope back at Del Mar, before moving to Russell’s care and winning a six-furlong optional claimer on December 22 at Laurel.


Yo Yo Candy eyeing return in $150K Bay Shore

Happy Tenth Stable’s graded stakes-winner Yo Yo Candy could make his return from a five-month respite in the Listed $150,000 Bay Shore, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores, on April 6 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Bay Shore is one of five stakes offered on the lucrative Wood Memorial Day card, topped by the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino, a 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Derby qualifier at nine furlongs for sophomores. The card will also feature the Grade 2, $300,000 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets, the Grade 3, $175,000 Distaff, and the Grade 3, $200,000 Gazelle, a 100-50-25-15-10 qualifier for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.

Trained by Daniel Velazquez, Yo Yo Candy made a name for himself in July at Saratoga Race Course when springing a 46-1 upset in the Grade 3 Sanford with a stalking trip under regular pilot Angel Castillo. He followed with distant off-the-board finishes in the Grade 1 Hopeful sprinting seven furlongs at the Spa and the Listed Nashua traveling one mile in November at the Big A ahead of his winter freshening.

Velazquez said Yo Yo Candy relished his time away from the races and that the Bay Shore is a likely landing spot for the dark bay son of Danzing Candy.

“I’m ‘60/40’ to go there,” said Velazquez. “I think we will go and he’s ready for the race, we’re just trying to figure out who’s going to be in there. That was the original target, and we’re just playing it by ear now. He’s doing good and we gave him a little break. He’s developed and I’m curious to see if he can give us a good 3-year-old campaign.”

Yo Yo Candy has worked steadily since February at his home base of Parx Racing, including a robust six-furlong breeze from the gate in 1:15.21 on March 20.

“He’s gotten more serious and has gotten bigger and wider on me, which is good,” Velazquez said. “Mentally, he has developed. He was a bit of a boy and is becoming a man now. I’ve got to make sure the Sanford wasn’t a fluke and we’ve got to see if he’s gotten better this year.”

A $35,000 purchase at the OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, Yo Yo Candy is out of the multiple graded stakes-placed Two Punch mare Yolanda B. Too and is a half-brother to the graded stakes-placed Treble. He has banked $149,050 through a record of 5-2-0-1 that includes a debut graduation sprinting 4 1/2 furlongs in May at Parx.


Munny Grab targets Grade 3 Gazelle; Graded stakes-placed Stonewall Star has options after Biogio’s Rose victory

Magic Cap Stables and Hayden Racing’s stakes-placed New York-bred Munny Grab is under consideration for her graded stakes debut in next Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Gazelle, a nine-furlong route for sophomore fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Gazelle offers 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-five finishers. Trained by Horacio De Paz, Munny Grab was impressive in capturing a one-mile state-bred optional claimer here on March 14, in addition to a third-place finish against open company in the seven-furlong Gin Talking at Laurel Park on December 30.

“It looks tough on paper, but if she were to hit the board, it could probably increase her value. She has run well versus open company in Maryland,” De Paz said. “We are thinking about giving it a shot.”

The Munnings chestnut broke sharply last out and was pressured by Fast and Frisky, but was able to keep a head in front to lead through fractions of 23.20 seconds and 46.26 over the fast footing, before putting away her foe in the stretch to draw off a 2 1/4-length winner. She covered the one-turn mile in 1:38.65 and garnered a 67 Beyer Speed Figure.

The victory was a much different performance than in February’s Maddie May when she was eighth-of-10 early after being bumped at the break and never able to make up much ground, finishing sixth, beaten 19 lengths by the well-regarded My Mane Squeeze.

“We lost a breeze or two before there. She didn’t have the best of trips, it looked like she was making a nice little run but obviously My Mane Squeeze is a very nice filly,” De Paz said. “I don’t know how far she could’ve gotten, but I think we could’ve at least hit the board.”

Bred by EKQ Stables and out of the Maria’s Mon mare Another World, Munny Grab is 6-2-1-1 lifetime with $108,980 in earnings.

Barry Schwartz’s graded-stakes placed New York homebred Stonewall Star found her form at the right time, winning the one-mile state-bred Biogio’s Rose here Saturday after two consecutive sixths versus open optional-claiming company.

“Obviously she is very competitive with New York-bred company. Now that she has gotten one-mile, I think it opens up a lot of doors for us,” said De Paz. “She is still eligible for the 2-other-than open-company, so we may go in that spot at a mile and see how she fares.”

In the Biogio’s Rose, Stonewall Star was within a head of the pacesetting Security Code in the early stages before pouncing in the turn and staving off a late rally from Bustin Bay to emerge a 1 1/4-lengths victress.

“It was surprising but good that she came back and won in that spot,” De Paz said. “She is back to the racetrack and doing well. I’ll regroup and see how she trains this week before picking a next spot.”

The Biogio’s Rose conquest garnered a career-best 85 Beyer Speed Figure, her best number since running third in the Grade 2 Beaumont in April at Keeneland.

The 4-year-old Flatter bay now boasts a record of 12-5-1-4 with $353,198 in earnings. She won the local Key Cents as a juvenile at the Big A before taking the Franklin Square at the same site as a sophomore prior to an 11-length romp of the Wide Country at Laurel last February.


Aqueduct Racetrack spring meet Week 1 stakes probables

Saturday, April 6, 2024

G2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino

(Offering 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points)

Probable: Deposition (Uriah St. Lewis), Deterministic (Christophe Clement), El Grande O (Linda Rice), Elysian Meadows (Bill Mott), Evening News (Michael Pino), Gettysburg Address (Dallas Stewart), Lat Long (Kenny McPeek), Lonesome Boy (Hugo Padilla), Merit (Saffie Joseph, Jr.), Resilience (Mott), Society Man (Danny Gargan), Top Conor (Chad Brown), Tuscan Sky (Todd Pletcher), Uncle Heavy (Butch Reid, Jr.)

G2 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets

Probable: Anejo (Doug O’Neill), Petulante (Rick Dutrow, Jr.), Post Time (Brittany Russell), Super Chow (Jorge Delgado), Whittington Park (Jeremiah Englehart)

Possible: Coastal Mission (Jeff Runco), Just Beat the Odds (Greg Sacco)

G3 Distaff

Probable: Ain’t Broke (Rice), Apple Picker (Russell), Fingal’s Cave (David Donk), Hot Fudge (Rice)

G3 Gazelle

(Offering 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points)

Probable: Barbratina (Brad Cox), Ghalia Princess (Cox), Gin Gin (Cox), Life Talk (Pletcher), Munny Grab (Horacio De Paz), Regulatory Risk (C. Brown)

Listed $150K Bay Shore

Probable: Classic Joke (Richard Sillaman), Eliminate (Pletcher), Maximus Meridius (Reid, Jr.), Mission Beach (Russell), Proprietary Trade (C. Brown), Ridgewood Runner (Carlos Martin), Yo Yo Candy (Daniel Velazquez)

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