Telebet and internet wagering will be available for the simulcast menu which includes Philadelphia Park, Beulah Park, Turf Paradise and Portland Meadows. Full dark day simulcast operations will resume on Tuesday, March 3. There is no charge for parking or admission and gates open at 11:30 a.m.
Next Saturday, March 7, Aqueduct Racetrack will offer a pair of Grade 3 races, headed by the 57th running of the $250,000 Gotham, New York’s first major Triple Crown prep for three-year-olds at a mile and a sixteenth. The races will be part of a live 10-race card that begins at 12:30 p.m., and all overnight races carded for Gotham Stakes Day will receive a $10,000 purse increase.
Likely to contend in the Gotham are Jeff Singer’s Axel Foley; Turtle Bird Stable’s Haynesfield, David J. Lanzman Racing Stable’s I Want Revenge, Sequoia Stable’s Imperial Council; Peachtree Stable’s Masala; West Point Thoroughbreds’ Mr. Fantasy; Starlight Partners’ Naos and Mark E. Russell’s Russell Road.
Russell Road, a West Virginia-bred Wheaton gelding, has won six straight after a half-length loss at Charles Town to begin his career. Trained by James Casey, he will get a strong test for class in the Gotham.
Haynesfield, a New York-bred son of Speightstown, lost his debut race at Saratoga last August, but has since reeled off four straight victories, including two in open company here in the Count Fleet and Whirlaway.
I Want Revenge and Axel Foley both ship in from California, where I Want Revenge ran third to Pioneerof the Nile in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis and Axel Foley was second in the California Derby.
Imperial Council, a son of 2003 Wood Memorial and Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, has won two of three starts for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, while Mr. Fantasy is unbeaten in two starts for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Naos has won two of three starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, who also figures to run Masala here.
Saturday, Aqueduct will again feature a guaranteed $250,000 late Pick 4 on races 7-10.
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Shadwell Stables Lucky Island (ARG) worked a half-mile on Friday morning on the fast training track at Belmont Park as he prepares to make his seasonal debut in next Saturday’s 118th running of the Grade 3, $100,000-added Toboggan for three-year-olds and up at six furlongs.
The 5-year-old Lucky Roberto colt won four of seven starts last year, including victories in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap and Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap at Belmont Park. His season ended, however, with three dismal performances and he was given time to rest.
Also working on Friday was John Petrini’s Joey P., who went five furlongs in 1:01.01, handily. A 7-year-old Close Up gelding, he will be looking to end a three-race string of runner-up finishes for trainer Ben Perkins Jr. He has not raced since a neck loss at Monmouth Park on September 1.
Expected to challenge him in the Toboggan are King T. Leatherbury’s Ah Day, who was third in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap here last year; Repole Stable’s Driven by Success, who is riding a three-race winning streak in restricted company; Susan Moore and M and M Thoroughbreds’ Grand Champion, fourth in last November’s Fall Highweight Handicap; and R. David Sadoo’s Place Your Bet, second to True Quality in the Paumonok here on January 24.
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Tri-Bone Stable and Dr. Russ Cohen will sponsor a complimentary dinner for backstretch workers on Tuesday, March 3 from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the Aqueduct and Belmont Park kitchens.
Tri-Bone and Cohen are the respective owner and breeder of What a Pear, who won last Sunday’s Busher Stakes by better than10 lengths.
Now 4-for-4, the E Dubai filly will likely come back in the Grade 1, $400,000 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 4.
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Trainer Dominic Galluscio posted back-to-back wins in races one and two on Saturday with R Fast Favorite, ridden by Erick Lopez and Spunky, ridden by Anna Rose “Rosie” Napravnik. Galluscio has quietly advanced in the trainer standings during Aqueduct’s inner dirt meet and Saturday’s training double brought him up to fourth in the trainer standings with 17 victories, mostly in claiming races.
“Even a blind squirrel has to catch an acorn sometimes,” Galluscio joked. “No, you have to have to have race luck and be in the right races. It’s all in the placing.”
So far this winter, Galluscio seems to have the placing pretty well figured out and it’s not the first time he’s enjoyed inner track success.
During the ’05-’06 inner track season, Galluscio finished ninth in the standings and went on to win the 2006 $250,000 Empire Classic Handicap with longshot Organizer. History repeated itself in 2007 – after finishing 7th in the inner track standings, Galluscio saddled another Empire Classic winner, Dr. V’s Magic, full brother to Organizer.