Gotham Is a Pivotal Race for Several

The Gotham (Grade 3) (KYD)- $300.000 Purse
AQU- For Three Year Olds
One Mile on the Dirt
March 10, 2018

It’s the 14th running of the Gotham at the Big A, and a full starting gate is set to go at it, all coveting the 50 KYD points that are offered for the winner. It is an interesting field, comprising of those who had disappointing February prep runs for various reasons, up and comers, talented ones who have gradually been stretched out, and past prep race winners. That makes this race very pivotal with many TC dreams hanging in the balance. It’s not the last chance to get in the KYD, but that race is now less then two months away. The race was won by How To Laff, for Kopites, last year, and while he had a good career, he never made it to the KYD. That’s actually happened more often then you would think, especially in the early editions of the race. A Gotham winner has never won the KYD, and only twice has the Gotham winner hit the board: Laffin Policeman (2009) running second, and Lukas Duke (2015) running third. The winner in this race will look to buck that trend, and I think we have some very contenders to do just that in the race. Here’s a look at the field!

#1- Rod Steiger (Asgar, ridden by G Melancon)- Back in November, Rod Steiger played the winning role in the Frost King, for ON-breds. He had run in the Champagne before that, and even though that race did not go well, he seemed like he was on the path to success at that point. He has not really been pushed forward that aggressively after that, running in another ON-race, and then ultimately the Lecomte in January. He finished in the middle of the field there, but taking off February in prep race season was a tough call. This will be the third time in his last four races that he starts on the rail.

#2- Pretty Ferro (Estero Farms, ridden by J K Court)- Last month, Pretty Ferro was victorious in the Grade 3 Swale Stakes, which along with the San Vicente, seems to the February race for the “I’m not quite sure about the distance, but I think he could” crowd, with its seven furlong test. He’s won three in a row, but the stakes have not been super high yet. There’s no denying that he earned this chance, and based on a recent work he put up at GP, the question may be why he waited so long to try this distance. Interesting comparison race within the race between him and Jerry Bien.

#3- Wicked Orange (Allinthegate, ridden by G Stevens)- This Orange Eclipse gelding has shown flashes of potential, but also has yet to find the winners circle after he broke his maiden. After a disappointing finish in the BC Juvenile, Allinthegate went for the snip, and the resulting races have been two solid finishes, and I particularly like his run in the LA Futurity last December. Also to like, even though he only has the one win, is that he has a lot of experience at this level, and can get a portion of checks, even if not the winners share. I can see him getting some points out of the race, but probably not 50 of them.

#4- La Grande Terre (Smokey Stover, ridden by E Cancel)- As I’ve often said, for every maiden that wins a race like this and gets talked about like crazy, there are many more that attempt it and flop. In the case of La Grande Terre, Smokey Stover just picked him up in private sales for $150.000, and if he thinks he has the potential, then you have to try. Work times are good, and this is a good horse, just not of the mindset that he’s a KYD horse.

#5- Jerry Bien (Gdp Inc, ridden by H Caballero)- Happy to see that the trainer has stuck with the plan to run him in the Gotham after his impressive performance in the San Vicente, at seven furlongs, last month. Having covered that race, I was impressed quite a bit by Jerry Bien, and see absolutely no reason that he will not continue to stretch out. He is a bit of an underrated KYD contender right now. He’s won five out of six, and everything that Gdp Inc has wanted him to do so far, he has been up for the task. Jerry Bien is one of the horses to beat in this field, and as mentioned with Pretty Ferro, I am intrigued by watching a race within the race between the two of them.

#6- Rootin Tootin (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by C J Lanerie)- Only has one win in nine starts but has still been regularly running against the best, having contested races like the Sanford and Hopeful as a young two year old, to the Swale Stakes in his last start. The thing is, not only is he not winning, he isn’t hitting the board much recently, either. I like that he was closing well in his Swale performance, but he has not shown that he can beat this type of field yet. Hopefully he has that breakthrough at some point. I’ll wait until he does before I pick him.

#7- Delta Storm (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by B J Hernandez Jr)- This is a colt by the great Niagra looking to make a big jump for his career. The results have been good, with two wins and five in the money finishes out of his six starts. However, since it took him five tries to break his maiden, he has not been taking on strong fields like this before. He followed up his maiden win by taking an allowance, so he has earned this chance. Sometimes all it might take is a win to get them pointed in the right direction, so let’s see if he can carry the momentum here.

#8- Mist Maker (Crocker Ggs, ridden by P Husbands)- Seemed to be on the verge of an excellent season this year thanks to finishing off 2017 with two stake wins, including the Grade 2 Remsen here at AQU last December. He’s only raced once since, and that was last month at the Grade 2 Holy Bull, and he simply did not fire at all that day, with a dismal showing. Hopefully, there was a reason for that, and if that race is a throw out then there is no reason to be concerned. This race is crucial for him to show that he will be a contender in the division, and not that he already had the best races of career already.

#9- Bolden (Our Athletes, ridden by J Rosario)- Very consistent horse who is a little similar to Delta Storm in that it took him a while to finally pick up that maiden win. It came after three strong runner ups, and he was placed in the Notebook for NY-breds following that race. He earned a fourth place check there, but then was dropped back into an allowance, where he picked up his second win. Now, Bolden gets another chance to prove that he can be competitive at this level, and gets a challenging assignment here.

#10- Dream Controlled (Mb Stables, ridden by P Lopez)- The only entry by Mb Stables in this field, Dream Controlled has won half the races that he has contested, taking three out of six. Most notably, he is fresh off a win in the Grade 3 Withers right here at AQU, in an HRP-rout of three lengths. That race represented his first try in going longer, and it was a good looking way to do it. Now, we wait to see if he can build off of that race, and the trainer must be very confident in that he has not been scratched, given that the trainer has some history in scratching out of outside posts. Perhaps, this was inside enough.

#11- Erupt (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by R M Hernandez)- Will horses starting from posts 7 and 11 mean good luck for D J C in this race? Erupt has been lightly raced since his win in the Grade 1 Frontrunner last September, with just two starts since that victory. The first was the BC Juvenile, where he was not a factor, but then after two months he would race in the Sham Stakes, a Grade 3 at SA, and run a solid third. Surprisingly, he took February off, even with a good late January work at SA. Perhaps we will see the rewards of that here.  Trainer is high on his chances, but it’s tough to like the starting spot.

#12- Fast Kruz (On The Map Racing, ridden by A S Arroyo)- After having a good career on the grass, prior trainer Brave moved him to the main track and that has result in two middle of the field results at the graded level. He would be sold for $65.000 just a few days after running fourth in the San Vicente, and he will make his debut for On The Map Racing here. Unfortunately for the trainer, he draws this outside post which has not been successful in any way lately in the game.

Prediction: 5-10-3-2

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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