G3 Futurity second-thru-fourth place finishers reunite in fully loaded Atlantic Beach
by Ryan Martin
A full field of 14 turf juveniles, including three stakes winners, will assemble for the $100,000 Atlantic Beach, one of three stakes carded for Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The six-furlong event over the outer turf at the Big A features the second, third and fourth place finishers from the Grade 3 Futurity on October 6 at Belmont Park, which was won by subsequent Grade 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint champion Four Wheel Drive.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Freewheeler was second beaten three lengths to Four Wheel Drive in the Futurity after a 5¼-length romp in his career debut over the Saratoga turf against his New York-bred counterpart.
Owned by NK Racing, the chestnut son of City Zip was hammered down for $430,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select Sale in March and is out of the Dehere broodmare Zia Zia Zia.
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., a six-time leading rider at Aqueduct, will pilot Freewheeler from post 5.
Third in the Futurity for trainer Michael Stidham is Virginia-bred Embolden, who was beaten 3 ½ lengths in the Futurity.
Owned by Michael Faber's Dare to Dream Stable, the gray or roan son of The Factor broke his maiden at second asking defeating fellow Virginia-breds over the turf at Colonial Downs on August 8 before a win in the Jamestown one month alter against state-breds at the New Kent oval.
Jockey Joel Rosario will return to the saddle when he breaks from post 8.
Gary Barber's Jack and Noah, fourth in the Futurity, will look to rebound off such effort when breaking from post 4.
Trained by Mark Casse, the French-bred son of Bated Breath graduated at first asking on the inner turf at Belmont Park on September 27 over next-out winner and fellow Atlantic Beach aspirant Turned Aside before he served as the pacesetter in the Futurity, fading to fourth.
Jack and Noah is out of the Mizzen Mast broodmare Winter Count and comes from the same family as 2012 Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf-winner Flotilla.
Casse said Jack and Noah will revert to the off-the-pace style he displayed in his career debut.
"He's doing well. He seems like a pretty talented horse," Casse said. "It turned out to be a pretty good race. I was surprised to see him so keen and on the lead. I was shocked to see him up front. I can imagine he'll be off the pace this time around."
Four-time Aqueduct leading jockey Jose Ortiz will be aboard Jack and Noah.
Casse will also send out stakes winner Old Chestnut following a sixth-place finish in the Indian Summer on October 6 at Keeneland. The Live Oak homebred, a son of Speightstown out of Grade 1 winner Pool Land, trained alongside Casse's contingent at Woodbine where he broke his maiden over the turf before winning the Ontario Racing on September 15.
"He caught a very soft inside turf last time at Keeneland. Tyler [Gaffalione] rode him that day and said that he just spun his wheels," Casse said.
Jockey Junior Alvarado will pilot Old Chestnut from post 2.
Rounding out Casse's trio is Tracy Farmer's Prince of Thieves, who will cut back in distance following a 13th-place finish in the Grade 3 Bourbon to stable mate Peace Achieved. Prior to that effort the bay son of Into Mischief was third in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint after a career debut victory over the Ellis Park turf.
"We're giving him a cut back in distance. He's probably just a one turn come-from-behind sprinter," Casse said.
Price of Thieves will emerge from post 12 under apprentice rider Declan Carroll.
Completing the field are So Street [post 1, Trevor McCarthy], Me and Mr. C [post 3, Carol Cedeno], Turned Aside [post 6, Jose Lezcano], Montauk Daddy [post 7, Kendrick Carmouche], Axiomo [post 9, Luis Saez], Fly Fly Away [post 10, Javier Castellano], and Mystic Lancelot [post 11, John Velazquez].
Dubai Bobby [post 13, Pablo Fragoso] and Big Package [post 14, Manny Franco] are entered as also-eligible.
The Atlantic Beach is one of three stakes on Saturday's 10-race card at the Big A, which also includes the $150,000 Artie Schiller and the rescheduled $100,000 Pumpkin Pie that was moved when Closing Day at Belmont Park was canceled after the first race due to heavy rainfall and high winds on October 27. First post is set for noon.