Trainer Jeff Mullins originally planned to keep I Want Revenge in New York with trainer Anthony Dutrow, but the plan was changed to head back to California and prepare for the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial for three-year-olds at nine furlongs here on Saturday, April 4.
* * *
Saturday morning, Mr. Fantasy breezed a half-mile in 48.05 on the fast training track at Belmont Park. Third in the Gotham as the favorite, Mr. Fantasy battled eventual winner I Want Revenge through splits of 23.76, 48.48, 1:12.69, before I Want Revenge drew off to win, covering the mile and a sixteenth in 1:42.65
At Payson Park in Indiantown, Fla., Imperial Council went a half mile in 51.80. Imperial Council rallied to get second in the Gotham.
Also under consideration for the Wood Memorial are Al Khali, Atomic Rain, Just a Coincidence and possibly Lime Rickey.
* * *
Tale of Ekati, last year’s winner of the Wood Memorial and Grade 1 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile (by disqualification), is expected for the Carter Handicap, as are Ah Day, Biker Boy, Driven by Success, Eternal Star, Fabulous Strike, Kodiak Cowboy and True Quality.
* * *
Last Wednesday, trainers were able to train under the lights for the first time during the morning hours on Belmont Park’s training track.
“Normally we open [training hours] at 6 and it’s still dark out,” said Paul “PJ” Campo, New York Racing Association vice president and director of racing. “A lot of the bigger outfits with a lot of horses could benefit from being able to start earlier, spread out their sets and get done earlier. From a convenience standpoint and from a safety standpoint having the lights in place makes it easier on everyone.
“This is something we had wanted to get done for awhile and we made it a priority this year. Beginning [Wednesday] April 1, we’ll move up the start of training hours to 5:30, which will be good.”
Aqueduct Racetrack will offer simulcast wagering on Dubai World Cup Day, Saturday, March 28, from Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The schedule begins with the Godolphin Mile at 9:40 a.m.; followed by the UAE Derby (10:15 a.m.); Dubai Golden Shaheen (10:55 a.m.), Dubai Duty Free (11:55 a.m.) , Dubai Sheema Classic (12:40 p.m.) and the world’s richest race -- the 14th running of the Group 1, $6 million Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline (1:30 p.m.).
This will be the final Dubai World Cup staged at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse before Dubai racing is moved to Meydan in 2010.
There will be advance wagering on all Dubai World Cup Day races on Friday, March 27, except via internet. On Saturday, the first three races will be available by Telebet and internet only; the Dubai Duty Free will be available via Telebet, internet and self-service terminals only; and the last two races will be available at all windows.
There is an 18 percent takeout on win and place (actually place and show and 25 percent on exactas, trifectas, superfectas, Pick 3s and Pick 6s). A $1 minimum wager is available.
Asiatic Boy and Well Armed, runner-up and third, respectively, to eventual two-time Horse of the Year Curlin in the 2008 Dubai World Cup, are expected for the Dubai World Cup.
Kiaran McLaughlin, who trained 2007 Dubai World Cup winner and Horse of the Year Invasor, is expected to run Shadwell Stable’s 5-year-old Albertus Maxmus here. Winner of Gulfstream Park’s Grade 1 Donn Handicap on January 31, he will be ridden by Alan Garcia, New York’s leading jockey in 2008 and last year’s Belmont Stakes winner aboard Da’Tara.
In addition to the Dubai races, Aqueduct will offer 10 live races of its own, beginning at 1 p.m. The feature race will be the 35th running of the Grade 3, $100,000-added Next Move for fillies and mares, 3 and up, at nine furlongs on the inner dirt track.
NYRA will offer a $250,000 guaranteed late Pick 4 on races 7-10 on its live card.