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Edited NYRA Press Staff Release – Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ graded stakes-winning homebred Law Professor is listed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $150,000 Queens County to close out stakes action for 2022 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Rob Atras, the 4-year-old Constitution gelding enters the nine-furlong route for 3-year-olds and up from a pair of difficult Grade 1 engagements when second to Life Is Good in the nine-furlong Woodward in October over a sloppy and sealed Big A main track and an even fifth last out in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on November 5 at Keeneland.

While Atras had initially considered the Grade 1 Cigar Mile presented by NYRA Bets on December 3 as a possible return for Law Professor, he elected to wait for added distance and the prospect of easier company.

“We gave him a couple weeks of downtime, but never really took him out of

training,” Atras said. “We gave him a couple breezes and this seemed like a good spot. He’s already run at Aqueduct and run the mile and an eighth well.”

Law Professor tracked from sixth position through the final turn in the Dirt Mile and angled six-wide for the stretch run to finish 7 1/2-lengths back of the victorious Cody’s Wish.

In the Woodward, the dark bay tracked the pacesetting multiple Grade 1-winner Life Is Good throughout, looming large at the top of the lane and staying on strong to the wire, finishing just 1 1/4-lengths in arrears of his talented foe.

Atras said the added distance Saturday should benefit Law Professor after chasing rapid splits at the Breeders’ Cup.

“I think he handled two turns well before and the mile and an eighth allows him to get a little better position,” Atras said. “He can sit a little closer and be more forwardly placed than he was in his last race.”

Law Professor started his career on the West Coast with conditioner Michael McCarthy, taking an off-the-turf edition of the Grade 2 Mathis Mile last December at Santa Anita. The versatile fellow has made three starts for Atras, winning the Tapit over firm turf at Kentucky Downs in September ahead of his recent graded efforts.

And while he steps out of graded company in the Queens County, the 11-horse field does feature a number of tough competitors, including defending champ Forewarned and graded-stakes winners Ridin With Biden, Bourbonic, and Double Crown

“There’s some runners in there and you can’t overlook them. These are hard-knocking horses and the race actually came up tougher than I was hoping,” said Atras, with a laugh.

The Queens County is slated as Race 8 on Saturday’s nine-race program which closes out racing action on the NYRA circuit for 2022. There will be a mandatory payout of all pools. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.

Forewarned vies for title defense in Queens County

Trainer Uriah St. Lewis’ graded stakes-placed Forewarned will attempt to defend his title in the $150,000 Queens County, a nine-furlong main track test for 3-year-olds and upward, on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

“He’s doing fantastic and everything is going good,” said St. Lewis. “We couldn’t ask for anything better.”

The 7-year-old Ohio-bred son of Flat Out is nearing millionaire status as he makes his 11th and final start of a campaign that included two stakes victories and three other stakes placings. Forewarned will make his first start at the Big A since a dramatic head victory over Untreated in the Excelsior in April where he looked defeated in the final strides of a dramatic stretch battle, but found more under steady urging from Dexter Haddock to land the victory.

Forewarned’s victory in last year’s Queens County capped a productive 6-year-old season that saw him score in the 1 1/2-mile Best of Ohio Endurance at Mahoning Valley Race Course for a third consecutive year. He attempted a fourth victory in that event two starts back, but came up a neck shy after giving his signature late run from eighth-of-9 and failing to reel in the victorious I Wanna Win.

St. Lewis said he is looking forward to getting Forewarned back to Aqueduct after an even fifth-place finish last out in the Richard W. Small on November 26 at Laurel Park.

“I love it. I hope they go fast enough so he can come flying at the end,” St. Lewis said. “I don’t think he likes the Laurel track. We keep taking him there, but it’s not one of those tracks that helps horses that come from off the pace, and he has to. I like Aqueduct for him.”

St. Lewis had previously indicated there has been interest from the Ohio breeding market in a stud career for Forewarned, but he said the veteran will race at least one more season.

“He’ll run as an 8-year-old and then we’ll figure it out,” said St. Lewis. “As long as he’s healthy, we’ll run him next year.”

Bred by Preston Stables, Forewarned has amassed $940,283 in earnings through a record of 55-11-10-4. Jose Gomez has been tasked with the ride from post 9 in the Queens County, which is slated as Race 8 on Saturday’s nine-race program.

Among St. Lewis’ other stable stars are multiple graded stakes-winner Informative and multiple graded stakes-placed War Tocsin, who are both receiving a freshening after prosperous campaigns this year.

Informative, a 5-year-old son of Bodemeister, was last seen finishing a distant fourth in the Grade 1 Woodward over a sloppy and sealed Big A main track on October 1. The dark bay horse notched his second graded victory at odds of 14-1 in the Grade 3 Phillip H. Iselin in August at Monmouth Park, adding to another Grade 3 victory over the same oval in the Salvator Mile last June. Bred in Kentucky by Rose Hill Farm and John Trumbulovic, Informative has banked $557,040 in earnings with a record of 36-4-3-3.

“He’s doing good. We’re just giving him some time,” said St. Lewis. “We want to bring him back and we think next year will be a very good year for him because of all the horses who have retired. He can move up I think and get a little better.”

War Tocsin, a 6-year-old Violence gelding, has amassed $360,043 in earnings. He tried turf in the Grade 3 Turf Monster last out in September at Parx and was never involved, trailing in last-of-11 throughout.

The Kentucky-bred picked up three graded placings this year with a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 General George in February at Laurel and third-place finishes in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint in May at Pimlico and Grade 2 True North in June at Belmont Park.

“We’ve given him some time too and he’s back training,” said St. Lewis. “He wasn’t as interested [at the end of the year] and getting sour, so we just saw that and gave him some time. He’s back jumping and kicking around, so we’re happy with that. We’ll run both of them sometime in February or March at Laurel.”

Aqueduct winter meet Week 2 stakes probables

Saturday, January 7

$150K Jerome (10-4-3-2-1 Kentucky Derby qualifying points)

Probable: Andiamo a Firenze (Kelly Breen), Arctic Arrogance (Linda Rice), General Banker (James Ferraro), Narciso Dali (Amira Chichakly), Neural Network (Chad Brown), Prove Right (James Chapman), Valenzan Day (Linda Rice)

Sunday, January 8

$100K Say Florida Sandy (NYB)

Probable: Bankit (Steve Asmussen), My Boy Tate (Michelle Nevin), Reggae Music Man (Patrick Reynolds)

Possible: Amundson (Rice), Excellent Timing (Rob Atras), Market Alert (Atras), Wudda U Think Now (Rudy Rodriguez)

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