New York-breds in the spotlight on annual Big Apple Showcase Day
Stakes Advance
May 26, 2023
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New York-breds in the spotlight on annual Big Apple Showcase Day

by NYRA Press Office

A total of 96 horses are entered for Memorial Day Monday’s special 10-race all New York-bred card at Belmont Park to celebrate the best of New York racing for the annual Big Apple Showcase Day.

The day will offer six state-bred stakes worth $900,000, headlined by a pair of $200,000 contests in the Critical Eye for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at 1 1/16 miles, and the Commentator for 3-year-olds and up at the same distance. The Critical Eye and Commentator were previously contested at a distance of one-mile.

“Big Apple Showcase Day is not only a celebration of the New York-bred program but also a culmination of the achievements of New York breeders who continue to raise the bar in the quality of racehorses foaled in New York State each year,” said New York Thoroughbred Breeders Executive Director Najja Thompson. “We are thankful for our longstanding partnership with NYRA in highlighting each of our three annual Showcase Days throughout the year for all participants in the New York-bred program with lucrative purses and competitive fields for handicappers to wager on as a marquee event for racing fans on the Memorial holiday.”

The co-featured Commentator, slated as Race 9, is headlined by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s multiple graded-stakes placed Bankit [post 6, Joel Rosario], who won the last running of this event in 2021 for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.

Bankit captured the state-bred Evan Shipman at Saratoga Race Course and NYSSS Thunder Rumble at Aqueduct Racetrack in a productive 2022 campaign and will look to secure his first win of this season after hitting the board in state-bred efforts at the Big A in the Say Florida Sandy [3rd] and Haynesfield [2nd].

The 7-year-old Central Banker horse, bred by Hidden Brook Farm and Blue Devil Racing, sports a ledger of 39-8-12-6 for purse earnings just shy of $1.3 million.

Steep opposition will be provided by Michael J. Caruso and Michael Dubb’s Dr Ardito [post 1, Manny Franco], who saw a six-race win streak end last out when fifth in the Grade 3 Westchester on May 5 here. Trained by Chad Brown, the 5-year-old Liam’s Map gelding was bred by Fred W. Hertrich and John D. Fielding. Sanford Goldfarb, Matthew Morrison and Crown Stable’s stakes-placed Prince of Pharoahs [post 11, Eric Cancel], a four-time winner in five starts over Big Sandy, enters from a 4 1/2-length romp in a one-turn mile versus open company on May 6 here for trainer Rick Dutrow.

A loaded field includes graded-stakes winner Brooklyn Strong [post 2, Javier Castellano]; multiple graded-stakes placed Shipsational [post 9, Jaime Torres], multiple stakes-winners Barese [post 5, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] and Sea Foam [post 13, Kendrick Carmouche]; the stakes-placed duo of Curlin’s Wisdom [post 8, Jose Lezcano] and Sheriff Bianco [post 3, Jose Ortiz]; four-time winner Whittington Park [post 4, John Velazquez], three-time winner Ouster [post 10, Dylan Davis], allowance winner Olympic Dreams [post 7, Trevor McCarthy] and maiden winner Two for Charging [post 12, Katie Davis].

A field of six lines up in the Critical Eye in Race 3 led by a strong pair from Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher in graded-stakes winner Classy Edition [post 4, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] and stakes-winner Let Her Inspire U [post 3, Manny Franco].

Robert and Lawana Low’s Classy Edition, a 4-year-old Classic Empire bay bred by Chester and Mary Broman, captured the Grade 3 Royal Delta in February at Gulfstream Park. She enters from a distant 10th in the Grade 1 La Troienne on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

CHC Inc.’s Let Her Inspire U, a 4-year-old Practical Joke dark bay bred by Pine Ridge Stables, won 4-of-6 starts last year led by a score in the Empire Distaff at Belmont at the Big A.

NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ multiple graded-stakes placed Venti Valentine [post 6, John Velazquez] closed out a prosperous sophomore season with a win in the state-bred Bay Ridge in December at the Big A for trainer Jorge Abreu. Bred by Final Furlong Racing Stable and Maspeth Stable, the Firing Line chestnut won Aqueduct’s Busher Invitational last year before embarking on the road to the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks where she finished off-the-board.

Mark T. Anderson’s multiple graded-stakes placed Sterling Silver [post 5, Javier Castellano], bred by Mallory Mort and Karen Mort, enters from a rallying allowance sprint win against open company on April 22 at the Big A for trainer Tom Albertrani. A competitive field is completed by stakes-winner Timeless Journey [post 1, Dylan Davis] and six-time winner Ok Honey [post 2, Omar Hernandez Moreno].

The stakes actions kicks off in Race 1 as trainer Linda Rice saddles two formidable contenders in Downtown Mischief [post 4, Jose Lezcano] and Les Bon Temps [post 1, Jose Ortiz] for the $125,000 Bouwerie, a seven-furlong main track sprint for sophomore fillies.

Lady Sheila Stables’ homebred Downtown Mischief won the first three races of her career and scored her first stakes victory on March 18 in the open-company Cicada. She suffered her first loss last out when finishing second to Balpool in an off-the-turf edition of the Memories of Silver on April 29 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Les Bon Temps, owned by Lady Sheila Stables with Pura Vida Investments, Cindy Hutson and Brett Setzer, will look to double up on stakes scores after she was elevated to victory in the NYSSS Park Avenue on April 23 at the Big A. Bred by Southern Equine Stables, Les Bon Temps won two additional stakes as a juvenile in the NYSSS Fifth Avenue and Maid of the Mist, both over the Aqueduct main track.

A compact but talented field includes the graded stakes-placed Miracle [post 2, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], who scratched out of the May 19 Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan in favor of this spot for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher; the Brad Cox-trained Midtown Lights [post 3, Manny Franco], who finished third in the NYSSS Park Avenue; and the multiple stakes-placed Security Code [post 5, Javier Castellano] for trainer Phil Serpe.

Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse sends out D.J. Stable’s Lifetime of Chance [post 5, Dylan Davis] as he vies to earn back-to-back stakes wins in the seven-furlong $125,000 Mike Lee for sophomores in Race 4. Bred by Destiny Oaks of Ocala, Lifetime of Chance was last seen earning his first career stakes victory in the NYSSS Times Square on April 22 at the Big A where he showed some greenness when drifting in upper stretch but prevailed by a neck over Bank Frenzy.

Lifetime of Chance will face six talented rivals that include the Cox-trained Looms Boldly [post 1, Manny Franco], whose last two starts were victories in the six-furlong Damon Runyon and an April allowance at the same distance; and the Mike Maker-trained Maker’s Candy [post 3, Jose Ortiz], who crossed the wire first in the one-mile Gander in February but was disqualified to second for interference in the stretch.

Completing the field are Radio Red [post 2, Joel Rosario], What’s Up Bro [post 4, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], Jackson Heights [post 6, Trevor McCarthy] and Etnico [post 7, Javier Castellano].

In Race 6, the $125,000 Mount Vernon for older fillies and mares traveling one mile over the Widener turf, Hidden Brook Farm’s Sanura [post 6, Javier Castellano] will attempt her fourth straight victory in her stakes debut for veteran conditioner Barclay Tagg.

Bred by Mia Gallo, Michael Newton and Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, the lightly-raced Kitten’s Joy 5-year-old was victorious over Gulfstream Park’s all-weather surface on March 23, which was her first start in over a full calendar year. She made her first New York start in her most recent effort on April 27, defeating fellow state-breds in gate-to-wire fashion going 1 1/16 miles over the Aqueduct inner turf.

Lawrence Goichman’s homebred Runaway Rumour [post 7, Manny Franco] – fifth in last year’s Mount Vernon as the favorite – enters from a third-place finish in the open company Plenty of Grace on April 16 at Aqueduct. The Jorge Abreu-trained Flintshire mare boasts field-best earnings of $436,530 and completed her season last year with a narrow triumph in the October 30 Ticonderoga at Belmont at the Big A.

Completing the field are Royal Dancer [post 1, Kendrick Carmouche], Early Edition [post 2, Angel Rodriguez], Out of Sight [post 3, Jose Ortiz], Finest Work [post 4, Joel Rosario], Marvelous Maude [post 5, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] and Freddymo Factor [post 8, Omar Hernandez Moreno].

Popular New York-bred City Man [post 6, Joel Rosario] will pursue his ninth overall stakes triumph in Race 8, the $125,000 Kingston for older horses going 1 1/16 miles over the inner turf.

Trained by Christophe Clement and owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Peter Searles and Patty Searles, the 6-year-old City Man is one of two millionaires in the field and enjoyed a highly prosperous 2022 with victories in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple at Saratoga and the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale at Gulfstream Park. He was a disappointing last-of-12 in the Grade 1 Pegasus Turf Cup in January at Gulfstream before finishing third in the Grade 2 Fort Marcy on May 6 at Belmont. He finished seventh in last year’s Kingston.

Bred by Moonstar Farm, City Man boasts $1,011,120 in earnings and a record of 28-9-5-4.

Skychai Racing and David Koenig’s Somelikeithotbrown [post 9, Javier Castellano] also seeks his ninth overall stakes score as he makes his first start of the year for trainer Mike Maker.

The 7-year-old son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown won last year’s Grade 3 Mint Million in September at Kentucky Downs following a six-length romp in an off-the-turf running of the West Point presented by Trustco Bank in August at Saratoga. Somelikeithotbrown boasts field-best earnings of $1,686,018 through a 31-10-7-4 record. He was a last-out seventh in the Alex M. Robb on December 17 over the Aqueduct main track and was fifth as the heavy favorite in last year’s Kingston. He was bred by Hot Pink Stables and Sand Dollar Stables.

Completing the field are graded stakes-winners Rinaldi [post 2, Katie Davis] and Coinage [post 7, Dylan Davis], along with Ocala Dream [post 1, Eric Cancel], Jerry the Nipper [post 3, Jose Ortiz], Dakota Gold [post 4, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], Call Me Harry [post 5, Jose Lezcano], and Citizen K [post 8, Manny Franco].

First post on Monday’s card is 1 p.m. Eastern.

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