Thursday, March 26, 2009


The top three finishers from the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, headed by runaway winner I Want Revenge, are among the probable starters for the 85th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial for three-year-olds going 1 1/8th miles at Aqueduct Racetrack on April 4.

Owned by David Lanzman, I Want Revenge took his place among the top contenders for the Kentucky Derby by virtue of his 8½-length win in the 1 1/16th-mile Gotham on March 7. Sequoia Racing’s Imperial Council, who was second in the Gotham, and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Mr. Fantasy, third, are also likely for the final major New York prep for the May 2 Derby, according to New York Racing Association stakes coordinator Andrew M. Byrnes.

Other probables include Robert V. LaPenta’s Just a Coincidence, winner of two straight at Gulfstream Park for Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, and Dogwood Stables’ Lime Rickey, who will be making his dirt debut after posting a record of 1-4-3 in nine starts on the turf.

George and Lori Hall have a pair of 3-year-olds likely for the Wood in Atomic Rain, third going nine furlongs at Gulfstream Park in his last start, and West Side Bernie, sixth as the beaten favorite over an artificial surface in the Grade 2 Lane’s End at Turfway Park on March 21. Both are trained by Kelly Breen.

Lansdon B. Robbins III’s Danger to Society, seventh as the favorite in the Grade 3 Holy Bull, is under consideration as well.

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Also at Aqueduct on April 4 is the 109th edition of the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter, a seven-furlong handicap for 3-year-olds and up. Looming large among the probable starters is Charles Fipke’s Tale of Ekati, looking for a sweep of Aqueduct’s Grade 1 stakes for males, having already won the Wood Memorial and Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile in 2008.

Also being pointed toward the Carter are WinStar Farms’ Understatement, 2-for-2 this year at the Big A; Paraneck Stable’s True Quality, winner of the Paumonok and Grade 2 General George; King T. Leatherbury’s Grade 3 Toboggan winner Ah Day, and Fox Hill Farms’ Biker Boy, making his stakes debut after posting four straight wins for Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito.

Repole Stable’s Driven by Success, whose three-race win streak was snapped in the Toboggan; Harry Meyerhoff’s Eternal Star, runner-up in the Toboggan; Fall Highweight and Grade 3 Gravesend winner Fabulous Strike, and Vinery Stables’ Kodiak Kowboy, second in his four-year-old debut at the Fair Grounds on March 14, are also likely, said Byrnes.

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Three-year-olds have another chance to shine at Aqueduct on April 4 in the 49th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Bay Shore at seven furlongs.

Joseph Rauch’s Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes winner Capt. Candyman Can; Don Amos’s Counter Move, unbeaten in two starts; J. Kirk Robison’s Lyin’ Heart; Ted Julio’s Not for Silver, winner of the Fred “Cappy” Capossela; Live Oak Plantation’s Rocketing Returns; Shadwell Stable’s Taqarub, winner of the Jimmy Winkfield, and Roland Reeley’s Yano are likely.

Cash Counter’s Everyday Heroes; Joey Platts’s Gato Go Win, and Joseph E. Asbell’s Rhyad are possible starters.

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Rounding out the stakes action on April 4 is the 97th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Excelsior for 3-year-olds and up going nine furlongs. Probables include Dogwood Stable’s Atoned, Darley Stable’s Barrier Reef, Robert V. LaPenta’s Cool Coal Man, Pablo Gomez’s Real Merchant (CHI), and Vernon and Donna Dubinsky’s True Resurgence. Edmund Gann’s It’s A Bird and Fitzhugh Farm’s Richard’s Kid are possible.

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