G3 Gotham winner Raise Cain possible for G2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino
by NYRA Press Office
- G3 Gotham winner Raise Cain possible for G2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino
- Little Vic registers career-best 102BSF in G3 Tom Fool Handicap
- Slip Mahoney possible for G2 Wood Memorial after runner-up Gotham effort
- G3 Tom Fool runner up Runninsonofagun likely to receive a ‘confidence boost’ for next start
- Howgreatisnate in good order following eventful G3 Gotham
- NYRA offering bonus program for shippers in March and April
Andrew N. Warren and Rania Warren’s Raise Cain earned a career-best 90 Beyer Speed Figure for his authoritative score in Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham at Aqueduct Racetrack. The son of Violence earned 50 points towards the Run for the Roses with his 7 1/2-length conquest and is now fifth on the leaderboard with 54 total points.
Raise Cain entered the one-turn mile Gotham – the penultimate local Kentucky Derby qualifier – off an uncharacteristic fifth in the Leonatus on January 21 over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park. This effort came following a second in the Gun Runner on December 26 at Fair Grounds Race Course, where he earned four points on the Derby trail.
Trainer Ben Colebrook said Raise Cain could return to New York for the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino, which is the final local qualifier for the Kentucky Derby. The bay colt also could remain at his Keeneland base for the Grade 1, $1 million Blue Grass. Both races are slated for April 8 and award the top-five finishers points based off a 100-40-30-20-10 scale.
“We’re based at Keeneland and if it wasn’t for that, the Wood would be circled. I guess we’ll just sit back and see how the nominations are,” Colebrook said. “If one is significantly easier than the other, that would change our thinking. If you don’t have to ship, why do it? But the Blue Grass could come up significantly tougher. In which case, we would go to the Wood.”
Raise Cain entered the Gotham as a longshot in a full field of 14 entrants and went to post at 23-1 odds. Despite the influx of horses in the race, Colebrook said the swelled field was more to the horse’s benefit.
“When I really handicapped it, I liked it. I like the cutback angle in horse racing in general, especially this time of year when a lot of horses don’t have much two-turn experience,” Colebrook said. “I thought it was a wide open race. It was definitely tough, but I thought a big field would help him to be honest. He’s so laid back and he’ll do whatever a rider asks him. He’ll fit through gaps and find holes. I kind of thought that would be a good thing, especially with all the pace. I would have rather had that than some monster in a short field.”
Colebrook attempted to pull off an unusual double of saddling horses to victory in two different Kentucky Derby prep races in two different states. The Gotham field left the gate at 5:01 p.m. and Colebrook was back in Kentucky in time to saddle Scoobie Quando – owned by the same connections - in the $150,000 John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park, which went off at 9:29 p.m.
After he saddled Raise Cain for the Gotham, Colebrook was immediately en route to JFK Airport.
“Luckily, it worked out. Going to JFK, you pass the chute so I got the Uber driver to stop and I watched them run down the backside,” Colebrook said. “I switched on to my phone and watched the rest of the race, so I got to the airport in plenty of time luckily. The plane was on time so I made it to Turfway as they were walking over to saddle, so everything worked out. I didn’t really consider doing that until the overnights came out and they carded that race late at Turfway. So, I figured why not try it? I always really liked Scoobie, so I wanted to be there for that race.”
Scoobie Quando, a son of Uncle Mo, was behind a wall of horses late in the turn before angling out and rallying to finish second in the 1 1/16-mile test. He earned eight points on the Derby trail.
Scoobie Quando made his career debut at stakes level when capturing the January 7 Turfway Prevue going 6 1/2 furlongs. His runner-up effort in the John Battaglia makes him a likely candidate for the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks on March 25 at Turfway Park. The nine-furlong synthetic test is a 100-40-30-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifier.
“The timing isn’t great but he didn’t really get to run last night. I don’t think it was a tough race, so I’m leaning towards the Jeff Ruby,” Colebrook said. “If the race took a lot out of him, we would probably skip it and look for something on the dirt or the turf with him, eventually. When I had him on the main track at Keeneland, he worked really well on it. I still think the dirt is within his wheelhouse. But if not, we have synthetic and turf to fall back on. The way he ran last night, we have to at least consider the Ruby.”
Scoobie Quando, a $160,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, is out of the multiple graded-stakes winning turfer Daveron, making him a half-brother to multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire March to the Arch and multiple graded-stakes winner Global Access.
Colebrook credited veterinarian and former trainer Dr. Gregory Fox for his recent success on the Derby trail. As a trainer, Fox conditioned graded stakes winners Slew’s Tizzy, Tizdejavu and Battle of Hastings.
“He’s actually how I got together with the owners,” Colebrook said. “He helps selects the horses and he’s at the barn a lot. He’s big into the E-tracker saddle towels that monitor the horses’ works. It’s been exciting because not a lot of owners have two good 3-year-olds at the same time. Raise Cain was the owners’ first graded stakes winner and Scoobie was his first stakes winner. There’s a lot to look forward to.”
Little Vic registers career-best 102BSF in G3 Tom Fool Handicap
Little Vic, trained by Juan Carlos Avila for owner Victoria's Ranch, stalked and pounced to an impressive 1 1/2-length score over graded-stakes winner Runninsonofagun in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for older sprinters at the Big A.
The victory provided jockey Carlos Olivero and Little Vic with their first graded wins, following a pair of runner-up efforts at Aqueduct in the six-furlong Gravesend in December and the seven-furlong Grade 3 Toboggan on January 28.
"He has improved," said Avila. "I made a decision with the jockey and the owner that we don't like Little Vic on the front no more. He needs to be behind the faster horses and he has improved every race. He's doing perfect this morning. He's happy and home with no problems."
Little Vic tracked in third in the Tom Fool as Chateau provided sharp splits of 21.92 seconds and 45.14 over the muddy and sealed main track. Olivero gave Little Vic his cue late in the turn and the Practical Joke colt responded with a strong outside move, gaining the advantage at the stretch call and powering away to stop the clock in a final time of 1:09.73.
Little Vic has finished first or second in each of his last five starts, including an allowance score over older horses in October at Delaware Park ahead of a win in the City of Laurel in November at Laurel Park. He added blinkers following the Gravesend where he lost by a nose to the graded-stakes winning millionaire Drafted, who finished a non-threatening sixth yesterday.
"When he lost to Drafted, at the quarter-pole he had no focus. Carlos said to put blinkers on and since then he's been perfect in the race," Avila said. "It's incredible. The horse is not faster, he's more relaxed. I don't know why, but it's true."
Avila said Little Vic is likely to target the seven-furlong Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets on April 8 here. He is likely to be joined on the same card by stablemate Mr. Swagger, who after finishing sixth in Saturday's Grade 3 Gotham here, will try the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino which offers 100-40-30-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.
Mr. Swagger, a sophomore son of Maclean's Music, is also owned by Victoria's Ranch, which is the racing operation of retired professional baseball player Victor Martinez, a five-time MLB All-Star.
The $225,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase has made two career starts at the Big A with Olivero up, graduating in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint on January 28 by three-quarters of a length on debut over Register, who exited that event to earn a 93 Beyer in a narrow nose maiden score.
Mr. Swagger was bumped at the break in the Gotham and urged into fourth position just three lengths off the pace at the half-mile call, but failed to fire after saving ground through the turn.
"His race was excellent. Carlos maybe put him too much early in the race yesterday," Avila said. "When we went into the race, I said to Carlos, 'the horse is ready, but you need to put Mr. Swagger in last place and at the quarter-pole, you go outside.' I don't know what happened. He pushed the horse too much early and we need to stay back. In the Wood Memorial, he should run very nice."
Avila said he expects Mr. Swagger should benefit from stretching out around two turns.
"Yes. I am sure of that," Avila said.
Out of the Thunder Gulch mare Tee Off, Mr. Swagger is a half-sibling to multiple graded-stakes winning turf router Five Iron.
Avila also noted he will ship stakes-placed Big Tentations to the Big A for Saturday's $100,000 Correction, a six-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares.
The 4-year-old Practical Joke bay, who finished second in the Sanibel Island at Gulfstream in April, enters from a runner-up effort in a dirt sprint on January 23 at Parx. Eric Cancel will pilot Big Tentations in the Correction.
Slip Mahoney possible for G2 Wood Memorial after runner-up Gotham effort
Gold Square’s Slip Mahoney earned a 78 Beyer Speed Figure for his runner-up finish to 23-1 winner Raise Cain in Saturday's Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham, a one-turn mile for sophomores, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by two-time Eclipse Award-winner Brad Cox, who also sent out the pace-pressing fourth-place finisher Eyeing Clover, Slip Mahoney earned 20 qualifying points towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and will likely point to the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 8 at the Big A, a 100-40-30-20-10 qualifier.
“Both horses came back good,” said Cox. “Slip Mahoney will point for the Wood there. He obviously ran well and hopefully he gets a way better stretch run and doesn’t leave himself so much to do.”
Slip Mahoney, ridden by Trevor McCarthy, broke a step slow from post 10 in the 14-horse field and trailed in 13th through the first half-mile. He improved to eighth at the top of the stretch while racing eight-wide in pursuit of Eyeing Clover and subsequent winner Raise Cain, who made an inside rally from 11th and showed an impressive turn of foot down the center lane under Jose Lezcano. Slip Mahoney gained with each stride down the stretch and surged past Eyeing Clover, but could not collar Raise Cain and settled for second 7 1/2 lengths back.
The Gotham came on the heels of an impressive third-out graduation on January 21 over the same distance and oval where he dueled strongly throughout with Crupi and bested him by a head at the wire. The Gotham was Slip Mahoney’s first start facing winners and his second over a muddy and sealed track.
“Overall, I thought for the first time facing winners, it was a positive race,” Cox said. “I never expected him to be that far back. Hopefully he gets a little better trip and a little better position in the Wood.”
Ten Strike Racing, Michael Kisber and Colin Reed’s Eyeing Clover arrived at the Gotham from a dominant six-furlong optional claiming victory in pacesetting fashion on January 28 at Fair Grounds Race Course where he defeated six rivals by 9 3/4 lengths. He battled for the lead in the Gotham with Recruiter and Carmel Road before tiring and finishing fourth, nine lengths back of Raise Cain.
“I’m not sure what we’re going to do with him yet,” Cox said. “I’m not certain how far he wants to go, so we’ll just regroup and come up with a game plan here in the near future.”
Cox also trains Gary and Mary West’s Hit Show, who captured the Grade 3 Withers traveling nine furlongs on February 11 at the Big A. Cox said the son of Candy Ride, who has breezed back twice at Fair Grounds since his victory, remains possible for a return to the Big A in the Wood Memorial.
Earlier on Saturday’s card, Cox sent out Juddmonte’s Kentucky homebred Capella to a game third-place finish in the $200,000 Busher in her first career outing over the main track. The daughter of Quality Road entered with two wire-to-wire victories in as many starts over the Turfway Park synthetic going a two-turn mile.
Ridden by Florent Geroux in the Busher, Capella showed new tactics and was held 1 1/4 lengths off the pace in fourth as Asset Purchase and Ziaerati raced in tandem through splits of 23.54 seconds and 47.75. Capella came under a ride in the turn as Asset Purchase put away Ziaerati and was two lengths in front with an eighth of a mile to the finish. Shidabhuti rallied past Capella and a retreating Ziaerati down the center of the track to reel in Asset Purchase at the sixteenth pole and drew away to a two-length victory as Capella settled for third 3 1/4 lengths back.
Cox said he would prefer to bring Capella back around two turns in either the Grade 1, $600,000 Ashland at Keeneland or the Grade 3, $250,000 Gazelle at the Big A. Both races are slated for nine furlongs on April 8 and will award the top-five finishers 100-40-30-20-10 qualifying points towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.
“She came back good,” said Cox. “I’m not sure the plan with her either, but we want to get her back around two turns for sure. I don’t know if that means the Ashland or the Gazelle, but those are two races we’ll look at.”
G3 Tom Fool runner up Runninsonofagun likely to receive a ‘confidence boost’ for next start
Karen A. Zimmerman’s Runninsonofagun earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure for his runner-up performance in his seasonal debut in Saturday’s Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by John Toscano, Jr., Runninsonofagun, a son of last year’s leading second crop sire Gun Runner, was a narrow winner of the Grade 3 Bold Ruler on October 29 at Belmont at the Big A and was a close second to Greeley and Ben in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight on November 29 here to close out his sophomore campaign. He has finished no worse than third in each of his last nine starts, dating back to a seven-furlong allowance triumph last March at Parx Racing.
“He came out of it well. Everything so far is in good shape. We’re ready for another dance,” Toscano, Jr. said.
Toscano, Jr. was unsure of a next start for the appropriately named Runninsonofagun, and was wary of the upcoming seven-furlong Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap on April 8.
“It might come up a little tough for him,” Toscano, Jr. said. “I’d like to get a win under his belt and get his confidence up. I don’t want to keep him a bridesmaid.”
Toscano, Jr. did not rule out to shipping out of state for his next start and mentioned the possibility of targeting a start in Kentucky.
Runninsonofagun is a winner going both six and seven furlongs and Toscano, Jr. said he has no preference between the two distances. His last start going past seven furlongs took place in last year’s one-mile Grade 3 Dwyer at Belmont Park, where he completed the exacta 23 lengths in arrears of Charge It.
“I don’t think he’ll go too long,” Toscano, Jr. said. “I tried him in the Dwyer and he was a default second. When I stretch him, he doesn’t seem to perform as well. I’ll keep him short right now until he shows me otherwise.”
Toscano, Jr. claimed Runninsonofagun for $40,000 in December 2021 following a six-furlong maiden claiming win.
When asked what made Runninsonofagun such an appealing claim, Toscano, Jr. simply replied, “Gun Runner. What more to say? Go to the sale and try to get a Gun Runner for $40,000.”
Howgreatisnate in good order following eventful G3 Gotham
Imaginary Stables' Howgreatisnate arrived home to Fair Hill, Maryland, in good order after stumbling at the start of Saturday's Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham.
Trained by Andrew Simoff, the stakes-winning Speightster sophomore was undefeated in four starts heading into the one-turn mile Kentucky Derby qualifier, but saw his streak end as the gates opened, unseating jockey J.D. Acosta and completing the course before being collared by the outrider.
"He was fresh and a little too eager and he outbroke himself coming out of the gate. He pushed so hard his front feet went underneath him and he just went down," Simoff said. "He came out OK. He got a little scrape on his pastern and we're keeping an eye on it, but other than that he looks good. If he's good in the next two or three days and there's no issues or inflammation, I'll look to run him right back."
Acosta, who said he was kicked in the helmet by Howgreatisnate, walked off under his own power and visited with EMS. He booked off his two mounts today at Laurel Park and is scheduled to ride again on Tuesday at Parx.
"I'm a little sore, but nothing too bad," Acosta said. "I'll take today off and rest up and feel better for the next couple days."
Howgreatisnate entered from a 3 1/2-length victory in the six-furlong Future Stars on December 5 following a trio of winning efforts at Delaware Park that included a score in September in the First State Dash, a sprint restricted to Delaware-bred or certified juveniles at the Wilmington oval.
Simoff said he was hopeful a good Gotham effort could propel Howgreatisnate onto bigger races like the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino which offers 100-40-30-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.
"If he had run fifth or sixth yesterday, I could deal with it and say he's not what we thought. We were trying to get a line on him to see if he could compete with the bigger horses," Simoff said. "Now that I didn't get that opportunity, it's hard to figure out what to do next. Had he run second or third, the Wood would be a no brainer."
One option for Howgreatisnate could be the nine-furlong Federico Tesio on April 15 at Laurel Park.
"We're considering everything right now," Simoff said. "We might go to Maryland in a few weeks, and if he runs well there then we can get back to a bigger race."
While the Gotham was lost in the first stride, Simoff took some consolation in seeing his horse get back into the race, albeit riderless, with a wide move to take command and run down the lane with the eventual winner Raise Cain.
"As bad as it was, it was kind of funny at the eighth pole when that horse went to run by him and he dug back in to run with him," Simoff said. "It looked like he was pulling up, but when he saw that horse on the outside he dug back in. I was proud of him for that.
"It's a tough break, but we'll keep going," added Simoff. "I've been in this game a long time and every once in a while, it's your turn for some heartache and yesterday was my turn. That's the way it goes."
Howgreatisnate, out of the Tapit mare Bee Dees Bid, was purchased for $67,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
NYRA offering bonus program for shippers in March and April
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) is offering a bonus program for horses shipping in to race at Aqueduct Racetrack during March and April.
Trainers whose horses start at Aqueduct in March and April that are not stabled at a NYRA track will see a bonus of $1,000 credited to the owner's account towards shipping expenses. This bonus excludes steeplechase races.
The horse must be declared an official starter to be eligible. In addition, the horse will not be eligible if placed on a poor performance or veterinarian list.
For more information, please visit: https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/horsemen/.