Ancient Rome, a second-out maiden winner at Delaware Park in October, capped his 2-year-old season with a nose victory in Gulfstream Park’s Spectacular Bid Stakes at six furlongs on December 3. The son of Roman Ruler made his two-turn debut in the 1 1/16-mile Gulfstream Park Derby on January 1, finishing a distant 10th and perplexing trainer Tony Dutrow.
Ancient Rome has been stabled at Aqueduct since February and counts three works over the inner track, most recently covering a half-mile in 47.97 on Sunday morning.
“The weather has been so good up there that he hasn’t missed a day of training, and he’s doing very well,” said Dutrow. “We’re getting back to what we know he’s good at.”
C.C. Lopez has the call aboard Ancient Rome, who drew the outside in post position 7 and was made the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.
Dutrow will also send out Christopher’s Joy, an Exclusive Quality colt owned by Bill and Vicki Poston. Undefeated in two starts at Parx Racing, Christopher’s Joy made the lead in both races and was never seriously tested thereafter. He exits a one-length allowance win on January 22 and worked a bullet half-mile in 47.70 at Parx on Sunday.
“This is a step up for him, and he has a lot to prove,” said Dutrow. “He’s been training fantastic and is deserving of a chance.”
Stewart Elliott comes in to ride Christopher’s Joy, who will leave from post position 4 at 8-1 on the morning line.
Trainer Chad Brown has also entered two runners in the Capossela, Beggarthyneighbor, winner of the Dancing Count Stakes at Laurel Park on January 28, and Hardened Wildcat who exits a first-level allowance victory on February 10.
The pair worked in company on Sunday at Belmont Park, covering five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.47.
Junior Alvarado was named to ride Beggarthyneighbor, a son of Half Ours who is owned by Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence. Beggarthyneighbor was tabbed at 6-1 on the morning line and will leave from post 3. Hardened Wildcat, New Farm’s gelded son of Hard Spun, drew post 2 under Eddie Castro and was made the 2-1 morning line favorite.
Perfect Trippi and Copy My Swagger, the 2-3 finishers behind Hardened Wildcat in last month’s first-level allowance, also will run back in the Capossela.
Mike Repole’s How Do I Win completes the field. The son of Corinthian has finished fourth behind the well-regarded Alpha in his two most recent starts, both route stakes at Aqueduct. In the Capossela, he returns to the distance at which he broke his maiden and scored in an allowance last fall.