Sole Volante likely for G2 Wood Memorial
by NYRA Press Office
- G2 Remsen winner Shotski bound for Dubai; Ilchester Cheetah to step up in Cicada
- Martin begins to chart course for Come Dancing; Piedi Bianchi in fine fettle following Correction
- Syndergaard, Stan the Man continue to look towards spring campaigns for Terranova
- Cross Country Pick 5 handles $108K
- Week 13 stakes probables
Owner Dean Reeves, who operates Reeves Thoroughbred Racing alongside his wife Patti, said it's important to prepare a horse for the Kentucky Derby over a surface similar to Churchill Downs. That is one reason why graded stakes-winner Sole Volante will point towards the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 4 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Patrick Biancone and owned by Reeves in partnership with Andie Biancone and Limelight Stables Corp., the 3-year-old Karakontie gelding is ninth on the leaderboard having collected 30 points on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby."
Sole Volante took the 10-point Grade 3 Sam F. Davis on February 1 at Tampa Bay Downs, garnering a career best 95 Beyer Speed Figure, en route to a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby one month later at the Oldsmar oval, where he earned another 20 points.
Sole Volante, who has never finished off the board in five starts, will look to add to his tally in the Wood Memorial, which offers 100-40-20-10 points to the top-four finishers.
"He's a pretty neat horse and he's been very consistent," Reeves said. "He's had three races where the Beyers were in the 90s, so that's pretty consistent. I like the fact that he's shown a good closing kick, and I think that bodes well for a race like the Wood or the Derby when you've got that long finish. One of the reasons we're looking there [Aqueduct] is because we think the surface is similar to Churchill and we have a good distance from the final turn to the wire."
ISole Volante was acquired for $20,000 from the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in April 2019.
"It just shows that good horses can come from any price range, any place, any stallion, any broodmare," Reeves said. "That's what makes this business so much fun and as good as it is. It's all about the chase to find a good horse whether it's $20,000 or $2 million."
Reeves also is a part-owner of multiple graded stakes winner Tax, who was second in last year's Wood Memorial to Tacitus. The Danny Gargan-trained son of Arch has not raced since running ninth in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational on January 25 at Gulfstream Park and has options for his next start..
"He's probably going to run at Keeneland [Grade 2, $200,000 Ben Ali on April 11] or Oaklawn [Grade 2, $1 million Oaklawn Handicap on April 18] or maybe Charles Town [Grade 2, $ 1 million Charles Town Classic on April 18]," Reeves said. "He had a good work the other day and we'll probably decide where we'll go in the next couple of weeks."
Tax, owned by Reeves in partnership with R.A. Hill Stable, Corms Racing Stable and Hugh Lynch, last found the winner's circle in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy presented by NYRA Bets last July at Saratoga Race Course.
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G2 Remsen winner Shotski bound for Dubai; Ilchester Cheetah to step up in Cicada
Trainer Jeremiah O'Dwyer has enjoyed great success at the Big A with three wins and two seconds in 10 starts, including scores in the Grade 2 Remsen with Shotski and the $100,000 Ruthless with Cruise and Danze.
Ilchester Cheetah, the Irish-born conditioner's other local success, will look to become O'Dwyer's third Aqueduct stakes winner in Saturday's $100,000 Cicada.
Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Pantofel Stable and Howling Pigeon Farms' Shotski demonstrated an effective front-running style in a pair of nine-furlong tests at the Big A, going gate-to-wire in the Remsen in December followed by a game second in the Grade 3 Withers on February 1.
The Blame bay, bred in Kentucky by Springland Farm and Prime Bloodstock, was a wide fourth last out in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, which was won in dominant fashion by Ete Indien.
Rather than hook up with Ete Indien again in the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby on March 28 at Gulfstream, O'Dwyer said he will ship Shotski to Dubai for the Group 2, $2.5 million UAE Derby. Both races are contested at nine furlongs and offer 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers.
"I think we'll be very competitive in the UAE Derby with a lot of prize money on the line and a lot of Derby points as well," said O'Dwyer. "If we go out there and win or run big and take a step forward, then we're on the right track. I'm a big believer in finding good spots for my horses to gain confidence and win races.
"I'm not against taking on Ete Indien and a few of the others further on down the line, but right now it looks like we can't beat him without a bit of luck on our side," added O'Dwyer. "He'll breeze here tomorrow morning and then head to Dubai on Tuesday all being well."
Shotski is currently 18th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 19 points. O'Dwyer said he expects to travel to Dubai on Thursday
"He'll have a walk day or two and then I'll ride him out myself," said O'Dwyer.
Designated Hitters Racing's Ilchester Cheetah, bred in New York by Cheryl Anne Prudhomme and Dr. Michael Thomas Gallivan, has a career ledger of 9-5-1-1.
The 3-year-old Itsmyluckyday chestnut has demonstrated a nose for the wire and quick turn of foot while winning races at Laurel Park and Charles Town. Last out, Ilchester Cheetah made all the running in a six-furlong optional claiming tilt in her Big A debut on February 21.
With Jose Lezcano up, Ilchester Cheetah turned back Kansas Kis, who exited that event to finish second in the Busher Invitational, and stakes-winner Fierce Lady.
"I was very pleased with her. She was a little high strung early in her career, but I think with racing and training she's really got her head together and she proved that in her last effort," said O'Dwyer. "I've always had a lot of faith in her ability and I think she's come right and at the right time."
Both her off-the-board efforts have come in stakes events, including a seventh in the Smart Halo at Laurel in November and a seventh in the 2018 Joseph A. Gimma at Belmont..
"Feargal Lynch came in to ride and I told him to drop her in and take his time with her and she didn't enjoy that at all," said O'Dwyer. "We've learned a lot about her going forward from that. She doesn't need to be on the lead, but she needs to be out and let her do her own thing."
Haymarket Farm homebred Cruise and Danze, a dark bay daughter of Danza, was an impressive 2 ¼-length winner of the Ruthless last out on January 26. O'Dwyer said Cruise and Danze is currently on a hiatus.
"She had a little bit of a setback," said O'Dwyer. "We've turned her out for now, but she'll be back later on in her 3-year-old year."
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Martin begins to chart course for Come Dancing; Piedi Bianchi in fine fettle following Correction
Blue Devil Racing Stable's star homebred Come Dancing is beginning preparations towards a 2020 campaign. She is currently stabled in Ocala, Florida for a winter break following a smashing 2019 campaign in which she captured four graded stakes including a stellar Grade 1 victory in the Ballerina at Saratoga Race Course,
The 6-year-old Malibu Moon mare put in a strong gallop on Saturday morning at Ocala Stud Farm said conditioner Carlos Martin and would most likely move into half-mile breezes beginning next Sunday.
"She's doing great," said Martin. "We're just beginning to prep to bring her back. She's put in some strong gallops going three-eighths yesterday. As long as we remain on schedule, she should move onto half-mile breezes starting next Sunday."
With eight wins from 14 career starts amassing over $1 million in earnings, Martin said he had a couple of targets in mind for Come Dancing's 2020 season.
"It's exciting getting her ready to compete for another year," said Martin. "She's healthy and sound. We have a couple options in mind to start her back. There's the Grade 1 Distaff at Churchill [May 2] which we're looking at as well as the Ogden Phipps [Belmont] and Beldame [Saratoga].
"With Marc Holliday [Founder Blue Devil Racing] being a NYRA Board Director, it's important for us to run in New York and in front of her fans," added Martin. "So, of course we also take that into consideration."
On Saturday at the Big A, Martin picked up his second victory of the winter meet and first stakes win of the year with 5-year-old mare Piedi Bianchi surging late and getting up in the last jump to win the $100,000 Correction.
Owned by Jay Oringer, Jack Bick, and Madaket Stables, Martin said the Indiana-bred Overanalyze mare is in fine fettle following her victory and expects more success from her this year.
"She really came back in great," said Martin. "She ate up all her feed and is showing good energy for as hard as she ran yesterday. I know the three of them were out in front and battling, but it looked like they could go around one more time again if they wanted to."
Unbeaten in two starts for Martin, Piedi Bianchi picked up her first stakes win since capturing the Francis Slocum at Indiana Grand Racecourse in 2018.
Martin said he would consider making the jump to graded stakes competition for her next start.
"I really expect her to continue to improve going forward from here," said Martin. "I'll talk it over with the ownership group, but we can look at races like the [Grade 2, $250,000] Ruffian or the [Grade 3, 200,000] Vagrancy at Belmont next. Her ability to fire fresh really suits to the way we manage horses and she showed the fight necessary to win in races like she did yesterday."
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Syndergaard, Stan the Man continue to look towards spring campaigns for Terranova
Trainer John Terranova said the New York-bred Syndergaard continues to train well at Belmont Park, breezing five furlongs in 1:01.80 over the training track on Saturday.
The work was the second in as many weeks for the 6-year-old Syndergaard, who returned off a nine-month layoff to run third in the Haynesfield, a one-turn mile, on February 22 at Aqueduct.
Terranova said there are no definitive spots picked out for Syndergaard's next start.
"No solid plans just yet," Terranova said. "He's been training well the last couple of weeks and we'll just wait for a nice spot for him and see what the deal is. I haven't decided just yet."
Syndergaard, owned by Eric Fein, Christopher McKenna, Harris Fein, Guri Singh and Jerry Walia, burst onto the scene in 2016, winning his first two starts, including the Funny Cide at Saratoga Race Course, before running second in that year's Grade 1 Champagne and finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile under then-trainer Todd Pletcher.
But Syndergaard never won another race until Terranova picked up the training duties in 2018. Since then, the son of Majesticperfection has won once in seven starts but has finished second twice and a third once, all against stakes company.
"He's competitive. I think he got a lot out of that last race," Terranova said. "He got a good run out of it and came back really well. He's breezed back a couple of times. We'll let him tell us what to do."
Bred in New York by Burleson Farms, Syndergaard is named after New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard.
Stan the Man came out of his sixth-place finish in the Stymie in good order and will now look to recapture the form that won three races in 2019. Terranova said the 6-year-old Broken Vow gelding, who also ran fifth in the Jazil on January 25, will likely run next after the Belmont spring/summer meet opens at the end of April.
"There's no definitive plans yet," Terranova said. "We'll regroup with him and see what's going on and why he put together a couple of subpar efforts the last two times. But he came out of the [Stymie] really well and is feeling good. We'll just move on and get him to the spring and see where we go."
Owned by Emma and Dermot Quinn and Scott and Debbie Pierce, Stan the Man did not break his maiden until his 10th career start but finished second four times and third on two occasions before breaking through. His breakthrough 2019 campaign started with two consecutive wins at the Big A and concluded with his first career stakes score in the Queens County on December 21 over the same track.
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Cross Country Pick 5 handles $108K
Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5, with a total pool of $108,764, returned $7,882.50 to punters who correctly selected all five winners for the 50-cent wager.
The sequence kicked off in Race 9 at Aqueduct where favored Honey Money [No. 11, $5.10] drew off to win by six lengths under Jose Lezcano to secure the 40th win at the Big A winter meet for leading trainer Linda Rice.
Trainer Mike Maker and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. teamed up at Turfway Park to sweep the second and fourth legs of the sequence. Queen of God [No. 3, $15.60] held off Pass the Plate to win the Bourbonette Oaks and one race later at the Kentucky oval, Field Pass [No. 12, $9.60] edged favored Invader in the final stride to capture the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks.
The third and fifth legs of the sequence, both from Oaklawn Park, provided a reliable single and an unlikely longshot. In the Grade 2 Rebel, the Bob Baffert-trained Nadal [No. 1, $3.80] blasted to the lead from the inside post under Joel Rosario and turned back all comers to secure a three-quarter length win over 82-1 shot Excession. In the finale, Classy Beast [No. 1, $48] used similar tactics as Nadal marking the early fractions before holding off a rallying 41-1 Silverbella to break her maiden on a sloppy and sealed track.
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.
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Week 12 stakes probables
Saturday, March 21
Probable: Cofactor (Kelly Breen); Ilchester Cheetah (Jeremiah O'Dwyer); Miss Marissa (James Ryerson); Two Sixty (Mark Casse)
Possible: Rising Seas (Ben Colebrook); Rude Awaking (Linda Rice); Spanish Point (Jorge Abreu)