Saturday, March 07, 2009


I WANT REVENGE COMES EAST TO DOMINATE GOTHAM


Judging from his 8 ½-length victory Saturday afternoon in Aqueduct Racetrack’s 57th running of the Grade 3, $250,000 Gotham Stakes for three-year-olds, I Want Revenge wants a whole lot more.

The California invader, making his first start on natural dirt after a 1-1-4 record from six starts on synthetic surfaces, stamped himself as a player to be reckoned with for New York’s last major Kentucky Derby prep, the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial for three-year-olds at nine furlongs on Saturday, April 4.


The Stephen Got Even colt not only showed a fondness for dirt, but also showed a warrior’s heart as he battled favorite Mr. Fantasy through fractions of 23.76, 48.48, 1:12.69 and then simply drew away to cover the mile and a sixteenth in 1:42.65.

“I have to give all the credit to Jeff (Mullins, trainer),” said winning jockey Joe Talamo. “He’s kept him fresh this whole campaign. I had so much horse the whole way around. Me and Alan (Garcia, jockey on Mr. Fantasy) were going pretty slow, but at the quarter-pole, my horse just took off. There is no comparison between real dirt and synthetic – he really took to it. When we went past the three-sixteenths pole, I was smiling. We’ll be back in four weeks.”

Mullins, who will keep the horse in New York with trainer Anthony Dutrow to prepare for the Wood Memorial, wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Nor did 5,154 fans, who let I Want Revenge go at 3-1.

“The horse was closer than I really wanted him to be,” Mullins said. “The horse kind of towed (jockey Joe Talamo) up there and (Talamo) stepped on him the whole way. I guess he knew what he was doing.

“We thought the dirt would move him up; I don’t know if that’s what did it or not. We might have just picked the right spot.”

Imperial Council rallied late under jockey Rajiv Maragh to neck Mr. Fantasy for the place.

“This is a really talented horse that is going to appreciate more distance,” Maragh said. “He’s the best three-year-old I’ve ridden in New York. He galloped out tremendous.”

Mr. Fantasy’s trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was impressed by the winner.

“They’ve got good races out on the West Coast. Why didn’t (I Want Revenge) stay out there?” he joked. “The best horse won today. We were second-best, even though we didn’t get second. If that horse doesn’t ship East, we win by five.”

Said Garcia of Mr. Fantasy: “He ran good – he got tired, but he ran so hard. He was a little warm in the paddock -- just so happy to run -- but he warmed up and settled down. I’m very happy with the way he ran. He’s a nice horse and we can do better than that next time.”

Masala, Russell Road, Axel Foley, Naos, Haynesfield and Giant Ryan trailed.

GOTHAM QUOTES

Winning trainer Jeff Mullins of I Want Revenge (No. 8): “The horse was closer than I really wanted him to be. The horse kind of towed (jockey Joe Talamo) up there and (Talamo) stepped on him the whole way. I guess he knew what he was doing.

“We thought the dirt would move him up; I don’t know if that’s what did it or not. We might have just picked the right spot. He’s going to stay here and run in the Wood [Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial, 3 yos, nine furlongs, Aqueduct, Saturday, April 4]. We’re going to think about this one for awhile.” (I Want Revenge will be stabled in New York with trainer Anthony Dutrow).

Winning jockey Joe Talamo: “I have to give all the credit to Jeff (Mullins). He’s kept him fresh this whole campaign. I had so much horse the whole way around. Me and Alan (Garcia on Mr. Fantasy) were going pretty slow, but at the quarter-pole, my horse just took off. There is no comparison between real dirt and synthetic – he really took to it. When we went past the three-sixteenth pole, I was smiling. We’ll be back in four weeks.”

Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of beaten favorite Mr. Fantasy (No. 5): “They’ve got good races out on the West Coast. Why didn’t (I Want Revenge) stay out there? The best horse won today. We were second-best, even thought we didn’t get second. If that horse doesn’t ship East, we win by five.”

Alan Garcia, jockey of Mr. Fantasy: “He ran good – he got tired, but he ran so hard. He was a little warm in the paddock -- just so happy to run -- but he warmed up and settled down. I’m very happy with the way he ran. He’s a nice horse and we can do better than that next time.”

Rajiv Maragh, jockey of Imperial Council (No. 8): “This is a really talented horse that is going to appreciate more distance. He’s the best three-year-old I’ve ridden in New York. He galloped out tremendous.”


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BallHype: hype it up!

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