“It was a real introduction period when we first got here,” Napravnik said of her arrival in New York. “Then, more and more people started to support us, business picked up and we finished out well. A lot of appreciation goes toward [those trainers] who started riding me in the beginning because I was out there on their horses showing everyone I could ride.”
“I look forward to a competitive Delaware meet and the plan is to be back in New York in November,” Napravnik said.
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Kentucky Derby Challenge winner Mafaaz, a disappointing eighth in the Blue Grass Stakes in his United States debut, will skip the Kentucky Derby and will likely return to grass, said new trainer Kiaran McLaughlin Thursday.
“[Shadwell Farm vice-president] Rick Nichols spoke with Sheikh Hamdan and said he has elected not to run Mafaaz in the Kentucky Derby,” McLaughlin said. “We have sent him to the farm [in Lexington, KY] for a week or two, and then he will come to New York.”
Mafaaz earned an automatic berth in the May 2 Derby with his victory in the Kentucky Derby Challenge at Kempton Park on March 18. McLaughlin said that the British-bred son of Medicean, who was previously trained by John Gosden, would most likely return to racing on grass although nothing had been picked out.
“We’ll get him here and get him into our program, and then look for a grass race for him,” said McLaughlin.
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Trainer Paulo Lobo, who has done nothing but impress the few times he’s raced in New York, will be relocating his stable to Belmont Park from southern California at the end of this month.
“The horses will be arriving on April 25 and I will be there on April 26,” said Lobo. “I have been thinking about this move for a while, and many of my owners wanted to make the move as well. So, both of us together, we made the decision.”
The Brazilian-born Lobo is 4-for-5 in New York, all in Grade 1 stakes, having saddled Farda Amiga to victory in the 2002 Alabama and Pico Central to win the 2004 Carter, Met Mile and Vosburgh. Pico Central also finished third in the 2004 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile to Lion Tamer.
Among the horses Lobo will be bringing to New York is Runforthedoe, a Group 1 winner from Brazil who finished second in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on April 4.
“I haven’t picked out a spot for him yet, but it will be in a stakes,” said Lobo. “I’m very excited about the move.”
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The fields for closing weekend stakes action at the Big A are beginning to take shape. Saturday, April 25, will be the 130th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Withers for three-year-olds at a mile.
Likely starters include Larry Johnson’s Despite the Odds; Phipps Stable’s Gone Astray; West Point Thoroughbreds’ Mr. Fantasy; Joseph P. LaCombe’s Supreme Summit and Paul Pompa Jr.’s This Ones for Phil.
Sunday, Aqueduct’s closing day, marks the 29th running of the $65,000 King’s Point for state-bred three-year-olds and up at one mile and one furlong.
Steven X. Kouray’s Alexandros; August Forever Stable’s Dr. D.F.C; Joseph McMahon’s Joe Corrigan; Anstu Stables’ Manteca; Merrylegs Farm’s See More Spirit; Tina Marie Bond’s Tommasi and IEAH Stables’ Wishful Tomcat are expected to start.