Montauk Traffic could navigate course to G3 Gotham following Jimmy Winkfield win
by NYRA Press Office
- St. Lewis will point Informative toward G3 Gotham
- Options remain open for Mind Control, Joevia
- Gargan targeting $100K Maddie May with Ice Princess
- Bourbon Bay works well in advance of $100K Gander
- Cross Country Pick 5 pays $22K
- Aqueduct Winter Week 7 Stakes Probables
Chris Fountoukis' Montauk Traffic navigated the course with aplomb, rallying from last-of-seven to win Saturday's $100,000 Jimmy Winkfield for 3-year-olds by 1 1/2 lengths at Aqueduct.
The morning after the Cross Traffic sophomore colt notched his second consecutive win in three total starts and earned an 80 Beyer Speed Figure, trainer Linda Rice said everything was in good order as she looks to next run him in the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham on March 7 at the Big A.
"He came out of it very well and looks great today, so we will see if we can move on to the Gotham from here," Rice said. "He's pretty inexperienced, but that's two races in a row now where he's come from off the [speed] and come through on the rail. He's going to gain more experience each time."
That experience could help in the one-mile Gotham, a Grade 1 Kentucky Derby prep race offering 50-20-10-5 points qualifying points to the top-four finishers. After making all three of his starts at seven furlongs, Montauk Traffic would be taking a step up in class and distance as he continues his bid to make the "Run for the Roses."
"I was really thrilled that he could go from a maiden win to winning the Winkfield. It's very exciting to consider that we could move on to the Gotham," Rice said. "I'm sure it'll be a much tougher race and a bigger field, but hopefully he can continue to improve and graduate on to the next one."
Rice also conditions another talented 3-year-old in George Hall's Max Player, who followed a runner-up debut as a juvenile on November 12 at Parx with a maiden-breaking 4 ¼-length score on December 17 at the same track. Making his stakes, 3-year-old, and Aqueduct debut, Max Player was up to the challenge, besting an eight-horse field in the Grade 3 Withers by 3 ¼ lengths at 1 1/8 miles on February 1 at Aqueduct.
The Honor Code colt's Withers' effort earned him an 86 Beyer and garnered 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. Rice said after talking to his owner, the plan is to wait on the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial on April 4, with 100-40-20-10 qualifying points available.
Entering Sunday, Max Player (10 points) was ranked 14th on the leaderboard for qualifying for the 146th Kentucky Derby. Rice said there is a possibility Max Player could look to add to that figure in the Gotham, but the preference for now is to not shorten him back up to a mile.
"He's doing great and right now we're sticking with our plan to point to the Wood Memorial," Rice said. "We'll nominate him to the Gotham, but George Hall and I discussed it and at the moment, our plan is to point towards the Wood Memorial. We really don't want to shorten him to a one-turn mile right now. We have him going a mile and an eighth. He's lightly raced, and we just think the better plan will be to go right to the Wood."
Max Players' stablemate, Prince of Pharoahs, ran sixth in the Withers. That effort followed a runner-up performance in the Jerome on New Year's Day at Aqueduct, marking his first stakes start after an impressive five-length win to break his maiden at second asking on October 13 at Belmont Park.
Rice said the son of 2015 Triple Crown-winner American Pharoah, owned by Darlene Bilinski and Harry Patten, does not have a firm target for his next start.
"He came out well and I'm not certain what we are going to do with him. We're on the fence," Rice said.
Everything's Cricket Racing and Lawrence Goichman's Nicodemus started his 5-year-old campaign with a strong second, by a nose, to Mind Control in the Grade 3 Toboggan on January 18 at Aqueduct.
Looking to follow on a 4-year-old year in which he won the Grade 3 Westchester in May at Belmont, Rice said the son of Candy Ride will now target either the $125,000 Stymie on March 7 or the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool the same day. The Stymie is contested at one mile while the Tom Fool, a handicap, is run at six furlongs.
* * *
St. Lewis will point Informative toward G3 Gotham
Trainer Uriah St. Lewis always believed in Informative, and on Saturday the sophomore colt rewarded his faith with a maiden victory going a one-turn mile at Aqueduct.
St. Lewis, who also owns the son of Bodemeister, has shown up to some of racing's biggest dances most notably with Discreet Lover, who won the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2018. He will now look to make headlines at the top flight with Informative and target the Grade 3 Gotham.
"We'll nominate to the Gotham and we'll train him up to that and try it out," St. Lewis said.
Informative was acquired for $25,000 from the Fasig-Tipton Mid Atlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale last May, where he was consigned by Brick City Thoroughbreds. Judging by his training early on, St. Lewis said he knew that his horse would relish longer distances.
In his two starts prior to breaking his maiden, he was second in the James F. Lewis III at Laurel before finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Remsen as the longest shot in the nine-horse field.
"He was good looking at the sale and he's a Bodemeister, who is a good sire," St. Lewis said. "He was reasonably priced for that sire, so we took a chance on him. After a few works, he started doing better and better. We know he wants to go long, that's why we ran him in the Remsen."
St. Lewis looks forward to hopefully having another horse in the spotlight.
"I would love that. Getting to that stage is what we all hope for. If we can get there and run in the Derby I would be delighted," St. Lewis said.
Bred in Kentucky by Rose Hill Farm and John Trumbulovic, Informative is out of the Hard Spun broodmare Lucky Black and comes from the same family as Grade 1 winners El Corredor and Roman Ruler.
St. Lewis said Discreet Lover is in training and will target a summer return to action.
"He's back in training," said St. Lewis. "If all works out well, you'll see him back in the summer."
* * *
Options remain open for Mind Control, Joevia
Trainer Gregg Sacco sent out dual Grade 1 winner Mind Control and stakes winner Joevia for their seconds works since their last start.
Under party cloudy skies, Mind Control, winner of the Grade 3 Toboggan on January 18 last out, went a half-mile in 49.08 on the Belmont training track. While the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter Handicap remains the ultimate goal for the 4-year-old son of Stay Thirsty, Sacco mentioned the possibility of running once more beforehand in the Grade 3 Tom Fool on March 7.
"It was picture perfect, the rider sat on him like a statue," Sacco said of the breeze. "He cooled out great. Our options are the Carter as the main winter goal and we may run him in the Tom Fool. My brother Rick Sacco [Red Oak Stable Racing Manager] will make that final decision."
Owned by Steven Brunetti's Red Oak Stable in partnership with Sol Kumin and Jason Monteleone's Madaket Stable, Mind Control won the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga in the final start of his sophomore campaign. He previously struck Grade 1 gold at the Spa during his 2-year-old campaign with an upset victory in the Hopeful.
Jeff and Michael Fazio's Joevia, a winner of a 6 ½-furlong allowance event on January 17 at the Big A, recorded a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.74 on the Belmont training track. Options for the dark bay son of Shanghai Bobby, who was third in last year's Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, include either the $125,000 Stymie on March 7 or the Grade 3, $500,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park on February 17.
"He worked really well this morning," Sacco said. "He cooled out well, scoped good and the work was just what we wanted. I'll talk to the Fazio brothers and make a final decision. If we do go to Oaklawn, we'll fly out Thursday."
* * *
Gargan targeting $100K Maddie May with Ice Princess
Trainer Danny Gargan said he plans on bringing dual winner Ice Princess, fourth in the Grade 1 Frizette in October, back into stakes company next out, but this time she'll be facing off against her New York-bred counterpart.
Owned by Flying P Stable in partnership with R.A. Hill Stable and Corms Racing Stable, the sophomore daughter of second crop sire Palace Malice defeated winners last out in a first level state-bred allowance event going a one-turn mile over the Big A main track.
Ice Princess recorded a half-mile breeze over the Belmont training track in 50.28 seconds on Saturday morning in preparation for the $100,000 Maddie May on February 23.
"She'll work one more time and that's what we're pointing towards. She's real nice filly," Gargan said.
An emphatic 12-length winner on debut prior to racing in the Frizette, Ice Princess will use the Maddie May as a possible springboard toward either the Grade 3, $300,000 Gazelle on April 4 at the Big A or the Grade 1, $500,000 Ashland on the same day at Keeneland. Both races offer 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points.
Bred by Mina Equivest, Ice Princess is out of the stakes winning Awesome Again broodmare Happy Clapper and was a $75,000 acquisition from the Summerfield consignment at the Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Saratoga Yearling Sale in 2018.
Dual graded-stakes winner Tax is in good condition following a ninth-place finish in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational on January 25.
"I don't know where we'll go next yet, but he's doing really well," Gargan said.
Gargan went on to say that three-time graded stakes winner American Anthem will target the $125,000 Stymie on March 7.
* * *
Bourbon Bay works well in advance of $100K Gander
Bourbon Lane Stable, Seidman Stables and Lake Lonely Racing's Bourbon Bay breezed a half-mile in 48.79 on Saturday on the Belmont training track in preparation for a start in Sunday's $100,000 Gander, a one-turn mile for New York-breds at the Big A.
"The work went very well and we're all set to run on Sunday in the Gander," said trainer Hennig.
The Bayern bay, bred in the Empire State by Oak Bluff Stables and Christophe Clement, graduated at second asking in a December 5 maiden sprint at Aqueduct. He made his sophomore debut with a good second in the one-mile Jerome on New Year's Day.
The Grade 3 Gotham, a one-turn mile on March 7 at the Big A, remains a possibility with a good result. Hennig said he opted to skip the Grade 3 Withers to try the Gander.
"He would need to run well in his next race and then we might consider the Gotham," said Hennig. "This seems like a nice progression for him as opposed to the mile and an eighth in the Withers."
Hennig is currently preparing a number of horses for a spring campaign from his winter base in Florida, including a promising pair for Courtlandt Farm in maiden winner Sonneman and the talented Sixth Street.
"We have some nice young horses coming back. Sonneman is doing well and Sixth Street, a Tapit filly who ran well to be second at Saratoga in her only start, is doing well," said Hennig. "We'll see how these 3-year-olds come along as spring approaches."
Sonneman, by Curlin, is out of the graded stakes winning dam Zardana. Sixth Street is out of the graded-stakes winner Sindy With an S.
Hennig said Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable's Bourbon War, who was off-the-board in two legs of the Triple Crown when eighth in the Preakness and tenth in the Belmont, is pointing towards a Gulfstream Park allowance tilt.
"Bourbon War is doing well and we're looking at an allowance race in the next couple of weeks for him," said Hennig.
* * *
All-stakes Cross Country Pick 5 returns $22K
Saturday's all-stakes Cross Country Pick 5, which boasted a total pool of $104,789, returned $22,269 for the 50-cent wager.
The sequence kicked off at the Big A where Chris Fountoukis' Montauk Traffic [No. 3, $7.60] rallied last-to-first under leading rider Jose Lezcano to capture the $100,000 Jimmy Winkfield for trainer Linda Rice.
The action then switched to Tampa Bay Downs for a trio of races as Lucrezia [No. 1, $13.80], piloted by Daniel Centeno for trainer Arnaud Delacour, picked up 10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points with a five-length score in the $150,000 Suncoast.
Hoolie Racing Stable and Bruce Lunsford's Admiralty Pier [No. 3, $44] provided the biggest upset in the sequence with a thrilling score in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay that required a photo finish and an inquiry. Sent to post at odds of 21-1 in the 1 1/16-mile turf route, Admiralty Pier, piloted by Samy Camacho for trainer Barb Minshall, battled on the lead with Real Story before opening up a 1 1/2-length lead at the stretch call. The hard-trying chestnut dug in down the lane as Devamani rallied outside and March to the Arch surged up the rail creating a blanket finish with Admiralty Pier prevailing by a nose. A jockey's claim of foul and a stewards inquiry for an incident at the three-sixteenths marker when March to the Arch attempted to split rivals was disallowed.
In the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis, previously undefeated mutuel favorite Independence Hall was in command at the top of the lane but could not repel a furious rally from Sole Volante [No. 2, $13.60]. With Luca Panici up for trainer Patrick Biancone, Sole Volante picked up 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.
Share the Upside [No. 1, $6.80] held sway against the favored Whitmore to close out the Cross Country Pick 5 in the $125,000 King Cotton at Oaklawn Park. Sent to post at odds of 5-2 under Ricardo Santana, Jr., the Steve Asmussen trainee led gate-to-wire in the six-furlong sprint for older horses.
The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. Every week will feature a mandatory payout of the net pool.
The Cross Country Pick 5 will continue each Saturday throughout the year. For more information, visit NYRABets.com.
* * *
Aqueduct Winter Week 7 Stakes Probables
Sunday, February 16
Probable: Bank On Shea (Jason Servis); Bourbon Bay (Hennig); Chowda (Gary Sciacca); Dream Bigger (Rudy Rodriguez); Harris Bay (Kimmel); Microscope (Sciacca); Scilly Cay (Rice)
Possible: Prince of Pharoahs (Rice)
Monday, February 17
$100,000 Hollie Hughes
Probable: Amundson (Horacio DePaz); Arthur's Hope (Marco Salazar); Binkster (Ray Handal); Cerretalto (Jimmy Bond); My Boy Tate (Michelle Nevin)
Possible: P J Advantage (Paul Burrow); Syndergaard (Terranova)