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Aqueduct Preview | Alex M. Robb Stakes 2023: General Banker Vies For 2nd Career Conquest
Racing at Aqueduct (NYRA)

Aqueduct Preview | Alex M. Robb Stakes 2023: General Banker Vies For 2nd Career Conquest

Seacoast Thoroughbreds of New England’s New York homebred General Banker vies for his second career stakes conquest in the $100,000 Alex M. Robb, a one-mile test for New York-breds 3-years-old and up, on Friday, December 29 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Alex M. Robb is slated as Race 2 on the eight-race December 29 program. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern. 

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Trained by Jimmy Ferraro, General Banker enters from a rallying runner-up effort in the seven-furlong NYSSS Thunder Rumble on December 3 at the Big A, pouncing from six lengths off the pace after steadying at the start and gamely collaring Be the Boss by three-quarter-lengths for place honors. He finished 3 1/2 lengths back of the victorious multiple stakes-winner Today’s Flavor and earned an 82 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort, one point off his career-best number earned when graduating in style in last year’s $500,000 NYSSS Great White Way by 8 1/2 lengths.

The son of Central Banker’s Thunder Rumble effort came on the heels of a successful return from a five-month layoff in October with a determined half-length triumph in a six-furlong state-bred allowance at Belmont at the Big A. The talented dark bay looks to build upon a strong sophomore campaign that saw him finish third in the Jerome, Grade 3 Withers and Grade 3 Gotham earlier this year at the Big A.

Ferraro said General Banker’s latest efforts have shown his talents have only grown with maturity.

“He’s doing good; super,” said Ferraro. “I think he came back even better and ran into a tough horse [Today’s Flavor] last time. He’s bigger, stronger. He’s matured mentally, too.”

Out of the six-time-winning Johannesburg mare Elusive Jozi, General Banker is a descendant of Reine-de-Course broodmare Alablue. He has amassed $506,943 in total purse earnings through a lifetime record of 16-2-4-3.

General Banker, assigned 118 pounds, will exit post 4 under Eric Cancel

Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will send out Michael Caruso and Michael Dubb’s multiple stakes-winner Dr Ardito and Klaravich Stables’ stakes-placed Aggregation in pursuit of his first Alex M. Robb victory.

Dr Ardito tries for his third stakes conquest as he returns to state-bred company after a distant off-the-board finish in the Grade 2 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets on December 2 over a muddy and sealed Big A main track. Two starts back, the 5-year-old Liam’s Map gelding garnered graded black type with a close runner-up effort to Everso Mischievous in the Grade 2 Forty Niner at Belmont at the Big A, rebounding from a disappointing last-of-6 finish in the Parx Dirt Mile in September, also over wet going. He was awarded a career-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure for his Forty Niner effort.

Dr Ardito put together a memorable six-race win streak from 2021-23 that concluded with his first stakes triumph in the state-bred Haynesfield here in February. Three starts later, he captured the state-bred Evan Shipman out of Saratoga Race Course’s Wilson Chute with a rallying effort to draw clear of Sheriff Bianco by 1 1/4 lengths.

Bred by Fred W. Hertrich, III and John D. Fielding, Dr Ardito has banked $441,993 in total purse earnings through a lifetime record of 13-7-0-0. He is out of the winning Indian Charlie mare Delightfully So, a half-sister to the multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Delightful Kiss and 2010 Canadian Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Delightful Mary.

Dr Ardito, assigned a co-field high 126 pounds, will emerge from post 3 in rein to current meet-leading rider Manny Franco.

Aggregation [post 1, Kendrick Carmouche, 121 pounds] arrives off a dominant 3 1/2-length victory in a one-mile first-level allowance against open company on November 19 here, leading at every point of call through splits of 23.57 seconds, 46.62 and 1:10.60 before drawing clear at the top of the lane and cruising home in a final time of 1:35.44. He was awarded a field-best and career-high 100 Beyer for the victory, which followed a similar optional claiming score against state-breds in October here.

Bred by Graceville Breeding, the dark bay 4-year-old Flatter gelding has hit the board in 5-of-8 lifetime outings, including a third-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile New York Derby last year at Finger Lakes Racetrack where he finished 8 1/2 lengths behind returning rival Barese.

Completing the field are the pair of multiple stakes-winner Barese [post 2, Dylan Davis, 126 pounds] and stakes-placed Curlin’s Wisdom [post 5, Isaac Castillo, 121 pounds] for conditioner Mike Maker.

Barese, owned by Paradise Farm Corp. and David Staudacher, vies for the fifth stakes victory of his career, which began in 2021 with three consecutive victories when graduating on debut and following with state-bred stakes triumphs in the Rego Park and Gander at the Big A. He went on to capture the aforementioned New York Derby last year at Finger Lakes ahead of three more stakes placing, including a nose defeat to Eloquist in the open-company Discovery last November.

This year, the 4-year-old son of Laoban boasts an open-company allowance coup by five lengths in May at Belmont Park, as well as a successful return to Finger Lakes to capture the 1 1/16-mile Genesee Valley Breeders’ in September. Barese looks to improve from his last two outings when posting distant off-the-board finishes in the nine-furlong Empire Classic in October and NYSSS Thunder Rumble on December 3.

Bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds and Lakland Farm, Barese boasts total purse earnings of $534,377 through an 18-6-2-3 record.

Martin Zaretsky’s Curlin’s Wisdom makes his first start for Maker after racing for conditioner Linda Rice since last May.

The dark bay 4-year-old Curlin colt returned from a five-month layoff last out to finish off-the-board in the Empire Classic after trailing in last throughout. He had finished a close second in last year’s Empire Classic won by Dr. Blute.

Bred by Pine Ridge Stables, Curlin’s Wisdom is in search of his first trip to the winner’s circle since an impressive 1 3/16-mile optional claiming score against open company in February that garnered a 95 Beyer.

He has banked $442,533 through a productive 22-5-7-4 record.