Taking home this event in style last year under the watchful eyes of trainer John Henry, he completely fell apart for the remainder of the season till Stu from Threshold look to breathe new life into him. The added furlong should be just what this six year old needs to get to the top.
- The Carter Handicap ( Gr. I ) ( P4)- Purse $400.000
- Aqueduct Racetrack- For Four Years old and Up
- Seven furlongs in Distance- Main Track
- Saturday April 4th, 2020
After last seasons win of this event, a then John Henry must have been scratching his head for the remainder of the season as his horse Sonar could not even find a purse payout. No changes we made to his adds and I would assume most of the instructions would have stayed the same, but it was like the bay gelding had no interest in winning. So by the end of October he was shipped off to Threshold to see if there was any life left in him? Surprisingly, he would close out the season with a third place finish in the BC Sprint, and then capture the Gravesend Handicap in a dead heat with Big Tuna ( Maxmillion Farm ). Stu would more then triple his initial investment in buying the five year old, and look to the future next season. He opened this year with finishing a length shy in the Gr. III GP Sprint Championship in his third try going three quarters of a mile. Each time he was closing late, so the added furlong here should have him up for the party.
So who with be the most likely candidates to play the spoiler? Here’s a look at the other eleven entries for Saturday’s event;
1. Have Some Faith ( Threshold ) Rider-Lezcano J… First of two for this trainer grabs the rail for this event, but it may still be an uphill battle. While he was six for seven in the money last season, he was unable to earn a single victory. Will be another from this trainer that likes to close, and they may just get to look eye to eye in the stretch run. Needs everything he can muster here.
2.Wild Fame ( John Henry ) Rider-Castellano J J…While its not Sonar out of the gate, trainer is hoping for a repeat for himself with this chestnut horse. Won a shorter sprint Alw46 race over at Charles Town in his opener, then stretched out to a miler in the Stymie over this track surface where he closed to within two lengths. Needs to be positioned well off the turn for home, and this is the first time for this rider, so does he have the answer for success?
3.Kiss The Snake (Nakamura Stables ) Rider- Alvarado J…Going to leave this name well enough alone, but this horse has had some success in the state of New York. Won both the Gr. I Vanderbilt and Gr. I Forego over at SAR. last season, then placed second here at the Duck in the Gr. III Toboggan. He and Sonar were just separated by two one-hundreds of a second in last years BC Sprint, so looks to play the spoiler here. Factor.
4.French Eclipse ( D J C Racing Stables ) Rider- Vargas J A Jr…Since the beginning of November this six year old has gone three straight trips to the winners enclosure. His most recent victory in his opener of 2020 was capturing the Gr.III GP Sprint Championship title by three quarters of a length with a keen stretch run. Sonar will be looking to join him late in the final sixteenth, but he may have nothing to do with that and just scoot away late. Definitely on a high right now.
5.War Command ( Fractious ) Rider-Flores O…First of two for this trainer and has called upon the service of a jockey who is winning at a 25% clip right now. Was a recent purchase at the end of last season and does have a runner-up effort in this years Tiznow Stakes on the west coast. Had just one win in ten starts last season, but he was racing in some of the top events as well. He has only raced once at this distance in his fifteen career starts and he will definitely need to get in the game early to be productive.
6.Final Verse ( Mb Stables) Rider-Sanchez M J…This trainer won three straight Carter titles from 2016-18, and this will be the first of two entries trying to add title number four. He did win a seven furlong OpClm25 last season at Parx with this combination of horse and rider, so maybe the reunion will be a fruitful one. He also won the $100 Bensalem Stakes over that surface as well in a sub 1:09 six furlong time. May just like the move back in distance from most recent.
7.Iron Cross ( Fractious ) Rider-Jaramillo E…In six starts last season before he was purchased, he had a record of (2-2-1), with his maiden victory and a win in the Tiznow Stakes ahead of his now stablemate War Command. Has run at nothing but milers in his past ten races, with a third place finish in first asking for this trainer in the Gr. I Cigar Mile. Trainer is hoping the duo will team up for a one/two finish here as they did in the Tiznow, but if he goes to the front early, he could set the bar for others to try and catch him.
8.Yocomoblazed ( Nolespan Racing ) Rider- Talamo J...Was claimed for a small sawbuck back at MNR in August, then went unraced for the remainder of the season as his new trainer looked for answers. Opened the year with a victory at a higher Clm40 race, then went on to the Tiznow Stakes, and brought home a neck length victory as the 619-1 longshot. No one really saw that coming and he gets a major six pound drop for this event. Will he go three for three? Possibilities.
9.Tallmadge Star ( Oquinn Farm) Rider-McCarthy T…Every time I have covered this trainer in a stakes event I have dismissed his entry from making a share. NOT this time. This four year old grey has not missed a top three payout in his past six events, while going two for two this season with a win in the $75 Forego and most recently the Gr. III General George Stakes against some top notch sprint horses. Trainer is at 39% in wins this season, so watch for this one to keep the money rolling in.
10.Sonar ( Threshold ) Rider-Kimura K…( See opening comments in this article)
11.Di Estate ( Gdp.Inc ) Rider-Lopez P...A late bloomer as a three year old as it would take till mid August in the mud for him to break his maiden. Followed that up with a try at the Gr. I PA Derby, but was four lengths out in thirteenth. Has had three starts for this season and is coming off a victory against Alw47 company down at GP. If you like to follow SRF numbers, his have been on the rise this season going from 88 three starts ago to a 97 in his most recent, so he may get some backers here.
12.Rocking The Boat ( Mb Stables ) Rider-Geroux F...Second runner for Dan and he will need to get in the hunt early here from this far outside post. Three of his five victories have come on the grass, and he seems to have an on again off again racing style like other horses I’ve seen in the past. This would be his off cycle race, so hopefully his trainer has a cure for that today. Trainer can do magic, but this just may end up being a failed trick.