McCarthy, Carmouche return to action on Friday at the Big A
Mar 2, 2023
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McCarthy, Carmouche return to action on Friday at the Big A

by NYRA Press Office

  • McCarthy, Carmouche return to action on Friday at the Big A
  • Transect brings undefeated record to G3 Gotham
  • Raise Cain hoping to cause commotion in G3 Gotham
  • Ward sends Nakatomi to New York for 4-year-old debut in G3 Tom Fool
  • D’ont Lose Cruz will turn back in $100K Damon Runyon
  • Aqueduct Racetrack Week 11 stakes probables

Friday’s eight-race program at Aqueduct Racetrack will see the return of jockeys Trevor McCarthy and Kendrick Carmouche, who both were away from racing action due to injury. 

McCarthy sustained a broken collarbone and pelvic injury during a race on November 18, when his mount Ever Dangerous clipped heels with another horse. On Friday, he is slated to ride Battuta d’Oro [Race 3, 9-2] and Grace and Charm [Race 6, 9-2]. 

Although disappointed to have missed the bulk of the Aqueduct winter meet, where he won 54 races while finishing second in the standings a year ago, McCarthy said he is just delighted to be back. 

“I was able to make a full recovery and everything healed up well, so I’m very blessed for that. I was able to spend some time with the family which is really nice around the holiday season,” said McCarthy. “We missed out on a mild winter, which was a shame since last year we were second leading rider. We were going into this winter with a lot of confidence and trying to be in that top three again. Things turned out differently, but at the same time, I’m just blessed to be back.”

McCarthy will have some chances to really hit the ground running upon return. In Saturday’s stakes action, he will ride Ziaerati in the $200,000 Busher for sophomore fillies as well as Slip Mahoney in the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham. Both races are 50-20-15-10-5 qualifiers for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, respectively. 

Trained by Robert Falcone, Jr. and owned by John Grossi’s Racing Corp., Michael Dubb, Elayne Stables Five and Adelphi Racing Club, Ziaerati has been tabbed the 9-5 morning line favorite in the Busher following an impressive first out maiden score here on January 15. Gold Square’s third-out maiden winner Slip Mahoney, trained by Brad Cox, has been made the 5-1 Gotham second choice.

McCarthy said he has been able to get acquainted with both of his mounts. 

“Ziaerati looks very live in the spot that she’s in. She’s coming off a super big win last time,” McCarthy said. “I’ve loved her since the first day I sat on her and worked her. She had a super good work here and then the other day I worked her again and I couldn’t be happier going into the race. Slip Mahoney worked really well here the other day when I worked him the second time. I learned a whole lot about him.” 

Carmouche, who last rode on February 2, suffered a hairline fracture in his right tibia after being stepped on by a horse he worked the following morning. On Friday, he is named the rider on Stone Creator [Race 4, 6-5], Ruvies in Time [Race 7, 3-1], and Heir Port [Race 8, 4-1].

Carmouche expressed similar delight to be returning to the saddle. 

“You never want to get hurt at any part of the season, but this was the part that you really don’t want to get hurt,” Carmouche said. “I was doing so well, and everything was going the right way for me and my agent Jimmy Riccio. I’m looking forward to getting back in the saddle and picking up where I left off. I was looking to get back on the fourth week and everything worked out where I got healed up in time. My agent was waiting on me to get the ‘Yes’ from the doctor. Once that happened, my agent worked well to get me my mounts.”

In Saturday stakes action, Carmouche is tabbed to ride maiden Check Engine Light for conditioner Jorge Abreu in the Busher, stakes-placed Clubhouse for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher in the Gotham as well as graded-stakes winner Runninsonofagun in the Grade 3, $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap.  

Carmouche piloted Runninsonofagun in 6-of-10 starts last year, including a victory in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler on October 29 at Belmont at the Big A. The talented Gun Runner gelding was also third in the Grade 2 Amsterdam and Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial at Saratoga Race Course for trainer John Toscano, Jr. 

“Coming into Saratoga last year, we thought he would get better with age and he started getting better,” Carmouche said. “He just ran well for me. I think the race this weekend sets up for him. There’s some speed in there. I heard he’s been doing really well off the layoff. John Toscano and his family have done a great job with this horse, so hopefully we get a little lucky on Saturday.”

Carmouche expressed optimism in Starlight Racing and Harrell Ventures’ Clubhouse, who he piloted to an open-lengths maiden score here on January 14 going seven furlongs. He was previously a distant fifth going six furlongs over a sloppy and sealed Big A main track under Carmouche. 

“I don’t think it had to do with the slop, he just didn’t care for the sprinting distance,” Carmouche said. “He never lost, but he never won either. I told Todd to stretch him out a little more, he likes to get his feet underneath him instead of being rushed off his feet that first quarter-mile. Going seven furlongs, it looks like that’s what he wants to do. When I rode him seven-eighths that gave me such a good feeling and he never stopped. He went pretty easily that day and he galloped out well. I don’t think the mile will be much to conquer with him.” 


Transect brings undefeated record to G3 Gotham

OXO Equine’s Transect will look to announce his presence on the Kentucky Derby trail in Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham, at Aqueduct Racetrack. The one-turn mile for sophomores offers 50-20-15-10-5 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers. 

Trained by Paulo Lobo, the Gun Runner colt enters from a pair of wins sprinting 6 1/2-furlongs over Tapeta at Turfway Park – a debut score from off-the-pace on January 20 ahead of a gate-to-wire effort last out on February 10.

“He won both times and we really liked the way he won,” Lobo said. “The way that he galloped out last time, I think he is going to enjoy the mile.”

Transect has trained regularly over the dirt surface at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, Kentucky, including a five-eighths effort in 1:01.40 on February 25.

“He works very well on it, so we made the decision to try the dirt this time,” Lobo said.

Lobo will be looking for his first Big A stakes score since Pico Central captured the 2004 Grade 1 Carter Handicap at the Big A as part of a memorable campaign that included Grade 1 wins in the Vosburgh and Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park.

“I remember that day well, it was very cold. Tapit won the Wood Memorial that day,” recalled Lobo. “Pico Central was a very good horse. He was the type of horse that makes us happy to get up in the morning.”

Joe Talamo will pilot Transect from post 7 on Saturday as part of an overflow field that includes a number of stretch-out speed types, but Lobo said he will leave strategy in the jockey’s capable hands.

“He has a good post in the middle, but that's a decision Joe Talamo is going to have to make,” Lobo said. “I know it's a deeper race, but I am confident he is going to run well over there.”

The $300,000 purchase from the 2020 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale is out of the A.P. Indy mare Divine Escapade, who is a half-sister to Grade 1-winner Mi Sueno.

Lobo trains a number of potential Kentucky Derby contenders for Larry Best’s OXO Equine, including Bromley, who is entered in Saturday’s John Battaglia Memorial, a 1 1/16-mile test at Turfway Park that offers 20-8-6-4-2 qualifying points to the top-five finishers. 

The Mastery colt graduated on debut in November at Churchill Downs ahead of a sharp optional-claiming score sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs in December at Turfway Park. He stretched out to 1 1/16-miles last out in the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds and, after missing the break, he attended the early pace before faltering to a distant fifth.

“That day he did not break and he stumbled a little bit. He was very rank. I think we need to forget this race,” Lobo said. “He has been training super for this race and he knows the track. He won the first condition allowance here and the distance is not going to be a problem. He's doing very well.”

A $450,000 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale weanling purchase, Bromley is out of the Malibu Moon mare Go Go Dana, who is a half-sister to graded-stakes winner Liam’s Dream. Bromley will leave post 10 under Gerardo Corrales. 

OXO Equine’s Event Detail finished 10th with Corrales up in Saturday’s Grade 2 Rebel contested at 1 1/16-miles over a sloppy and sealed main track at Oaklawn Park.

The City of Light sophomore had entered from a 2 3/4-length graduation traveling one-mile at Turfway Park that garnered an 80 Beyer, but Lobo said the colt failed to handle the wet going in Arkansas.

“I think he hated the mud. The jockey said after the first half-mile the horse was done,” Lobo said. “He had very good numbers going into this race - good Beyers and good Ragozin numbers. He won very impressive here but he hated the mud, so let's regroup.”

OXO Equine’s Itzos was last seen finishing seventh in the one-mile Leonatus on January 21 at Turfway Park. The Bolt d’Oro 3-year-old, out of the graded-stakes placed Roar mare Lotta Kim, is a half-brother to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.

“He was a little sick after this last race and he's had a few works since, but we haven’t decided on anything yet for him,” Lobo said.

Itzos, purchased for $1.4 million at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, graduated at second asking sprinting 6 1/2-furlongs on December 29 at Turfway Park, besting next-out winner Brazen Boy by 1 1/2-lengths.

Lobo said a decision will be made in one month’s time on whether or not Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R.D.’s Grade 1-winner Ivar will return to racing action. 

The 7-year-old Brazilian-bred son of Agnes Gold was a closing second last out, finishing three-quarters of a length back of Atone in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on January 28 at Gulfstream Park. 

“He ran a very good race, but not enough to win it,” Lobo said. “He has been awesome for us. He's always with Grade 1-winners. He’s run in 11 Grade 1s and he has never disappointed us. He's a special horse.”

Ivar, who captured the 2020 Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland, boasts a record of 16-6-3-2 for purse earnings in excess of $1.5 million. He has made nine appearances in Grade 1 tilts in North America for a record of 1-3-1, in addition to taking a pair of Group 1 races in 2019 in Argentina before moving to Lobo’s care in Kentucky. 


Raise Cain hoping to cause commotion in G3 Gotham

Andrew Warren and Rania Warren’s dual stakes-placed Raise Cain, who is tabbed at 30-1 odds on the morning line, will vie to upset an overflow field in Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham for sophomores traveling a one-turn mile at Aqueduct Racetrack. 

The Gotham, which awards 50-20-15-10-5 qualifying points towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby to the top-five finishers, is part of a stacked Saturday card at the Big A that co-features the $200,000 Busher, a 50-20-15-10-5 Kentucky Oaks qualifier, and the Grade 3, $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap for older horses. 

Trained by Ben Colebrook, Raise Cain was last seen finishing a distant fifth in the one-mile Leonatus on January 21 over the Turfway Park synthetic where he tracked in fifth before making a mild bid at the three-quarters call to improve to third position. The son of Violence came under urging from Luan Machado but retreated at the top of the stretch and was defeated 7 1/2 lengths by Funtastic Again. 

“He’s doing good and he got there in good shape. He trained at Belmont this morning and everything is A-OK,” said Colebrook. “We tried the [synthetic] because it’s what we’re running on at home and I thought he might like it, but he didn’t really have the same kick at the end of his races, so we are going back to the dirt.”

Raise Cain, who was assigned post 12 in rein to Jose Lezcano, is in search of his first stakes victory after earning two stakes placings as a juvenile in the Bowman Mill at Keeneland [third] and the Gun Runner at Fair Grounds Race Course [second]. The former effort came just 20 days after an impressive second-out maiden coup sprinting seven furlongs at Keeneland, winning by 5 1/4 lengths after pouncing from third-of-nine in the turn. The bay colt completed the race in 1:25.07 and improved greatly from a debut eighth-place finish in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden tilt in September at Churchill Downs. 

“He always touted himself in the mornings like he was a pretty decent horse,” said Colebrook. “He ran first time and needed the race, and then he came back and validated what we’d been seeing in the mornings. We ran him back a bit quick and I think he does need a little more spacing between his races. He ran good at Fair Grounds and he came out of that well. Obviously, the [synthetic] race didn’t work out well, but now we’re excited to get him back on the dirt hopefully for a good performance.” 

Colebrook said that while the colt was not a physically imposing juvenile, he has always shown great mental maturity. 

“He wasn’t a really big, strong horse as a 2-year-old – he was kind of lighter-framed and a little narrow,” said Colebrook. “He’s filled out and put weight on now. I think his biggest and strongest attribute is his mind. He never gets worried, he travels well and ships good, and for a 3-year-old, that’s a big thing because a lot of the time you’re going all over the place to find the right races for them. He can take his show on the road.”

Colebrook added that Raise Cain’s level-headedness, along with the fact that he has already earned black type when shipping, gave him the confidence to make a trip to the Empire State. 

“We were trying to find something back on the dirt and were thinking of a ‘1X’ at Oaklawn, but this race came up first,” Colebrook said. “He shipped [for the Gun Runner] and it didn’t take a lot out of him. He did everything right at Fair Grounds and we hope he can do that here.”

With plenty of early speed expected from the likes of Carmel Road and Eyeing Clover, Colebrook said Raise Cain could be poised to create an uproar with a late run in the stretch on Saturday. 

“I don’t think his post matters as much in the one-turn mile. I would rather have his post with his running style than the 1 or the 2,” said Colebrook. “With that long run down the backside, the race should run fairly quickly up front and hopefully he doesn’t have to go super wide. This race sets up well because there’s a lot of speed in there and he broke his maiden around one turn, so hopefully he can be rolling late and work out a good trip. He’s got a good jockey on him, so we’re excited.” 

A $180,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Raise Cain is out of the winning Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemon Belle, a half-sister to the multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire and 2010 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic winner Unrivaled Belle. He boasts $103,578 in total purse earnings from a record of 5-1-1-1. 


Ward sends Nakatomi to New York for 4-year-old debut in G3 Tom Fool

Trainer Wesley Ward is hopeful that stakes winner Nakatomi can throw quite a party for his seasonal debut in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap for older horses sprinting six furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Owned by Marc Detampel, Qatar Racing, and Tim O. Banker, Nakatomi was a last-out fourth in the Grade 1 Malibu on December 26 at Santa Anita. There, he took to the rear of the nine-horse field down the backstretch and began moving past runners into the far turn before launching a late rally to just miss third, finishing 5 1/4 lengths behind the winner Taiba. 

Nakatomi logged a trio of breezes over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park in February, the most recent of which was a five furlong move in 1:03.40 last Thursday. Ward expressed interest in using the Tom Fool as a prep for next month’s Grade 3 Commonwealth at Keeneland, where the son of Firing Line is unbeaten in three starts including the six-furlong Bowman Mill in October 2021. 

“We gave him a little time after that race out at Santa Anita. We got him back to Kentucky and let him settle in,” Ward said. “We we’re looking for a prep for the Commonwealth and this looked like the perfect spot for him to have that. He’s doing very well. He shipped into Belmont [on Tuesday] with no issues so we’re looking forward to it.”

Prior to the Malibu, Nakatomi won a 6 1/2-furlong allowance optional claimer on the November 5 Breeders’ Cup undercard at Keeneland, where he utilized stalking tactics to defeat eventual graded stakes winner Endorsed by a half-length. 

Despite being more of a “come-from-behind” sprinter, Ward said Nakatomi has the ability to display speed given the circumstances. 

“He showed some good speed at Keeneland on Breeders’ Cup day,” Ward said. “We’ll see how the race plays out on paper, obviously it’s a sprint so there’s going to be some fast ones in there. I think we have a fresh horse for this year starting off. Hopefully, he just continues on and runs a good race here. Then it’s on to Keeneland and on from there.”

Ward spoke volumes of jockey Dylan Davis, who will pilot Nakatomi from post 6 in the eight-horse Tom Fool, which includes graded stakes winning seasoned veterans Drafted and Eastern Bay as well as the formal graded stakes winner Runninsonofagun. 

“I have full confidence in Dylan. I have a great relationship with him over the years since he was a bug rider,” Ward recalled. “I’m excited to get him on this horse. I know that’s his track right now, so I’m looking for a big run.” 

Ward also said he plans on being more active on the NYRA circuit following the conclusion of Keeneland’s spring meet, which runs from April 7-28. 

“I’m excited to get Belmont going. We’ll get there a little early and get ready for the 2-year-old races,” Ward said. “We have some exciting ones for this year coming up. We’re going to look to do more in New York this year after Keeneland.”


D’ont Lose Cruz will turn back in $100K Damon Runyon

Clear Stars Stable, Mitre Box Stable, Big Toe Stables and Koshanostra Stables’ stakes-placed New York-bred D’ont Lose Cruz will return to sprinting following his fourth-place effort in Saturday’s one-turn mile Gander, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by David Duggan, the Always Dreaming sophomore made his first four starts at six furlongs at the Big A, of which the first three came under the care of now retired trainer Rick Schosberg. He was a game second in the Notebook in November before making a winning debut for Duggan by adding blinkers and closing strongly to best the multiple stakes-placed Starquist and next-out winner What’s Up Bro.

D'ont Lose Cruz set a contested pace in the Gander, marking the half-mile in 47.42, before Maker’s Candy took over en route to a drifting 1 1/2-length score over Neural Network, who was subsequently elevated to victory.

Duggan said D’ont Lose Cruz exited the race in good order and will return to sprinting in the $100,000 Damon Runyon, a six-furlong test for state-bred sophomores on March 19 at Aqueduct.

“It was a fact finding mission. We don't stay at this time, but maybe he will a little further down the line,” Duggan said. “He ran a credible race but we were beaten by better horses that were better distance horses. Now we know. The cut back will put him where we think he can be competitive.”

Bred by Southern Oak Farm, the $100,000 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase is out of the multiple stakes-winning D’Wildcat mare D’Wild Ride.

Ken Wheeler, Jr.’s state-bred Kant Hurry Love showed a new dimension with a heartbreaking nose loss in an open-company optional-claimer on Saturday at the Big A.

The 4-year-old Kantharos filly, piloted by Manny Franco, tossed her head at the start of the 6 1/2-furlong sprint and spotted the eight-horse field 5 1/2 lengths. She rated patiently down the backstretch before launching a five-wide bid to take command at the eighth-pole, but could not repel the late charge of I’m Buzzy, who arrived in the final jumps to secure the win.

“I cursed a lot,” exclaimed Duggan of the bad beat. “She broke a little tardy, but we now know she doesn't need to be head and head on the lead. She can be just as good a late-running sprinter which is nice to know.”

Bred by Dr. John M. McDermott and Laura G. McDermott, Kant Hurry Love is out of the Langfuhr mare She’s All Love, who is a half-sister to the multiple graded-stakes placed Bonus Points and stakes-winner Candid Desire.

Clear Stars Stable, Mitre Box Stable and Big Toe Stables’ Luna Locaattended the pace before fading to fifth in the one-mile Maddie May for state-bred sophomore fillies on February 19 at Aqueduct.

The Malibu Moon bay graduated in November for Schosberg in a state-bred maiden claimer before capturing an open optional-claiming sprint over a sloppy and sealed main track on January 6 here in her debut for Duggan.

“We'll take a step back with her,” Duggan said. “She's been an overachiever. I’ll put her in an allowance on the 19th here where I think she'll be competitive.”

Luna Loca, bred by Joe Fafone, was purchased for $60,000 at the OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.

Duggan will send out the evergreen graded-stakes winning millionaire Drafted in Saturday’s Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap. The 9-year-old Field Commission gelding will exit post 4 under Luis Rodriguez Castro in the eight-horse field which features the seasonal debut of graded-stakes winner Runninsonofagun.

Drafted finished a closing third last out on January 28 in the Grade 3 Toboggan won by Repo Rocks, who exited that event to capture the Stymie on Saturday here.

“We’re dodging no bullets. These are good horses,” Duggan said. “He's doing as good as he's ever been doing and bounced out of the last race as good as I could have him. He's ready to roll.”


Aqueduct Racetrack Week 11 stakes probables

Saturday, March 11

$100K Correction

Probable: Big Tentations (Juan Carlos Avila), Easy to Bless (James Ferraro), Secret Love (John Kimmel), Self Isolation (David Jacobson)

Sunday, March 12

Biogio’s Rose (NYB)

Probable: Know It All Audrey (Oscar Barrera, III), Timeless Journey (Ray Handal)

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