CLEVELAND - This week’s Road to the Kentucky Derby takes contenders to New York to compete in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct Race Track.
A field of 10 competitors are not only going after the $500,000 purse this 1-1/16 mile race offers but the 50 points awarded to a first place finish in this Derby Championship Series race.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sends three horses into the lineup with Monopolize, Master Lightning and Harpoon.
Those with perfect records such as Samraat and In Trouble will be battling in this race to keep the pace in the stretch and their winning record.
1. Noble Cornerstone (5/2) Trainer Wesley Ward, Jockey K. Desormeaux Had a disappointing 7th place finish in the Sam Davis. May prove better as he won on this track in November.
1A. Samraat (5/2) Trainer Richard Violette, Jockey Jose Ortiz His untarnished record makes him a favorite along with his early speed. He gradually keeps getting better.
2. In Trouble (5/1) Trainer Anthony Dutrow, Jockey J. Rocco jr. Is competing after a long layoff and making his first two turn start. However, likes to stalk.
3. Financial Mogul (10/1) Trainer Richard Violette, Jockey S. Bridgmohan His last time out in the Holy Bull was unimpressive. Will have to pull it together to finish in the superfecta wagering.
4. Uncle Sigh (3/1) Trainer Gary Contessa, Jockey Corey Nakatani A favorite for this race as he will likely be in contention in the stretch with Withers rival Samraat. He’s been training well and his times look good.
5. Monopolize (30/1) Trainer T. Pletcher, Jockey C. Decarlo I love his breeding and will get a pair of blinkers for this race. His speed numbers are not at all impressive and will likely run behind early pacesetters.
6. Deceived (15/1) Trainer L. Gyramati, Jockey R. Maragh Has experience on the track but finish third behind Samraat in December. He’ll need to pick up the pace to hit the board.
7. Classic Giacnroll (20/1) Trainer Lisa Guerrero, Jockey M. Franco Was unimpressive in the Withers, may be outclassed here.
8. Extrasexyhippzster (4/1) Trainer M. Trombetta, Jockey Julian Pimentel Won his last two races with one of those at Aqueduct. Will be challenging the pace. I like him in superfecta wagering.
9. Master Lightning (20/1) Trainer Todd Pletcher, Jockey C. Velasquez Speed figures are not what they should be. Not very likely.
10. Harpoon (10/1) Trainer Todd Pletcher, Jockey Ortiz, jr. I’m hopeful he can challenge in the stretch as he was beaten by a nose his last time out in the Sam F. Davis. He put in a fast work out earlier this week.