Graded stakes-victors comprise talented Artie Schiller field
by Brian Bohl
Skeedattle Stable's multiple graded stakes-winner Just Howard will again face an accomplished field in his Aqueduct Racetrack debut when he competes in the $150,000 Artie Schiller for 3-year-olds and up going one mile on the inner turf Saturday.
The fifth running of the Artie Schiller is one of three stakes on Saturday's 10-race card at the Big A, which also includes the $100,000 Atlantic Beach for juveniles 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.
Just Howard earned the first victory of his 5-year-old campaign when outlasting Divisidero by a head in the Grade 3 Oceanport on July 20 at Monmouth Park. The son of English Channel registered a pair of competitive efforts in his next two starts finishing fourth in the Find on August 17 at Laurel Park and fifth, but just one length back to winner and fellow Artie Schiller contender Caribou Club, in the Grade 3 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup last out on September 21 at Laurel that saw a blanket finish.
Staying at one mile, trainer Graham Motion said Just Howard, who finished third in the Grade 2 Dixie at 1 1/16 miles on May 18 at Pimlico Racecourse and won the 2017 Grade 3 Commonwealth Derby at Laurel, will look to continue a consistent streak that has seen him amass $475,905 in career earnings.
"He's doing well. He wasn't beaten by much last time and really showed he belonged so it's encouraging to see how he'll move forward here off that effort," Motion said. "This is a race that's been on my radar for a while for him. I know he only has the one victory this year, but he's really been consistent and hopefully he can break through and run his race."
Jose Ortiz will pick up the mount from post 4.
Glen Hill Farm's Caribou Club earned a 97 Beyer Speed Figure for his Turf Cup victory in September at the Artie Schiller distance. Trained by Tom Proctor, Caribou Club entered with momentum with back-to-back wins, including a 1 ¼-length score in the Washington House of Delegates Speaker's Cup on August 3 at Mountaineer Park.
Feargal Lynch, aboard for his last two stakes wins will have the return call from post 8.
Another graded stakes winner, Peter and Eloise Canzone's Dr. Edgar, enters off a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Knickerbocker at 1 1/8 miles on October 14 at the Belmont turf. The 6-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky won the Grade 3 Appleton in March at Gulfstream Park has three wins and a third-place finish in six career starts at one mile.
"He's a nice horse, just maybe a cut below some of the top stakes horses in New York," said trainer Barclay Tagg. "He's right there every time. He likes a mile. He runs hard the whole way that way."
Dylan Davis, who rode Dr. Edgar in the Knickerbocker, retains the mount from post 9.
John Oxley and Breeze Easy's Curlin's Honor has finished on the board in his last six starts, including five against graded stakes company, at Woodbine. He defeated allowance company on October 6 last out, following back-to-back third-place finishes in the Grade 2 Play the King and Grade 3 Bold Venture. Trained by Mark Casse, Curlin's Honor will break from post 5 with Joel Rosario set to ride.
"I think he's a nice horse. I was just happy to get a win last time and he won it easily so we're trying for another," Casse said.
The Chad Brown-trained Frontier Market has finished first or second in 10 of 11 career starts, including second by a head to Caribou Club in September's International Turf Cup in his first stakes appearance.
The 6-year-old Lemon Drop Kid gelding will have jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., aboard for all of Frontier Market's wins, back in the saddle, breaking from the rail.
Voodoo Song enters off consecutive runner-up finishes, running second to Dot Matrix by a half length in the Ashley T. Cole in September at Belmont and by a nose in the Mohawk on October 19 at Belmont.
Trained by Linda Rice, Voodoo Song will break from post 10 with Jose Lezcano in the irons.
Rounding out the field is Gidu, who ran fourth in the Belmont Turf Sprint after two straight ninth-place efforts in the Grade 3 forbidden Apple and the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap at the Spa for trainer Todd Pletcher [post 7, Hall of Famer John Velazquez]; Abiding Star, winner of the Neshaminy in September at Parx, for trainer Edward Allard [post 11, Carol Cedeno]; Golden Brown, who this year won the Don Horn Handicap, Irish War Cry Handicap and Charles Hesse III Handicap at Monmouth, for conditioner Patrick McBurney [post 3, Jorge Vargas, Jr.]; and Gunnison, the 2018 Tale of the Cat winner, for trainer Kelly Rubley [post 12, Julian Pimentel].
Stan the Man, Dynamax Prime and Free Enterprise are entered for the main track only.