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Aqueduct Preview | Notebook Stakes 2023: Works For Me Wheels Back Quick
Aqueduct racing (NYRA)

Aqueduct Preview | Notebook Stakes 2023: Works For Me Wheels Back Quick

KatieRich Stables, Christopher Connors and Lawrence Appel’s multiple stakes-placed homebred Works for Me seeks his first stakes victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Notebook, a six-furlong sprint for New York-bred juveniles, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Notebook is slated as Race 4 on Saturday’s 10-race card, which also features the Grade 2, $250,000 Hill Prince in Race 5, the $150,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship in Race 9 and the $100,000 Key Cents in Race 7. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.

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Trained by Joe Lee, the son of Daddy Long Legs wheels back on two weeks’ rest and returns to state-bred company after two valiant efforts against open stakes company, including a last-out third on turf in the Atlantic Beach where he was beaten a half-length. The career-best effort, which garnered an 84 Beyer Speed Figure, came after four starts on dirt that included a runner-up effort to Book’em Danno in the off-the-turf Futurity on October 8.

Works for Me looks to return to the winner’s circle for the first time since graduating at second asking in June at Belmont Park against state-breds in a five-furlong main track sprint. He boasts field-best earnings of $105,150 through a 5-1-1-2 record.

Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the call from post 6.

August Dawn Farm’s Ice the Kicker [post 1, Junior Alvarado] steps up for trainer Melanie Giddings off a gate-to-wire graduation on October 22 here. The Solomini chestnut led at each point of call in the six-furlong sprint while facing mild pressure early, and drew off in the stretch to notch a comfortable 1 3/4 length victory in a final time of 1:12.28. He earned a 66 Beyer Speed Figure in victory, a 41-point improvement from an off-the-board finish in his debut over a sloppy and sealed Saratoga Race Course main track on July 16.

“He’s doing really well and everything seems like he came out of his race good,” Giddings said. “We gave him some time because mentally we felt like he needed that. We were hoping he learned something, and he sure did. He was a typical young boy and needed to learn what his job is a bit.”

Giddings said it was surprising to see Ice the Kicker utilize front-running tactics.

“We were watching it all in silence because we were shocked,” said Giddings, with a laugh. “He showed he’s got something there and he was full of energy after the race. Hopefully, he can put that energy into something good.”

Bred by Larry F. Botting, Ice the Kicker was an $82,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Preferred New York-bred Preferred Yearling Sale and is a half-brother to the multiple stakes-placed New York-bred Unique Unions.

RAP Racing’s Aggelos the Great [post 3, Manny Franco] cuts back in distance after finishing a distant third to El Grande O in the one-mile Sleepy Hollow on October 29 over a muddy and sealed Big A main track for trainer George Weaver. There, he raced farther back than in any of his previous starts when rating in sixth and put in a mild bid approaching the turn, but was outfinished and settled for show honors. 

The City of Light bay finished second to El Grande O two starts back in the Bertram F. Bongard on September 24 just 10 days after breaking his maiden at second asking. Bred by Chester and Mary Broman, Aggelos the Great was a $100,000 purchase at the OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training and is out of the multiple graded stakes-placed Touch Gold mare Spritely, who also produced graded stakes-placed Pauseforthecause.

Mr. Amore Stable’s homebred Always a Warrior [post 8, Eric Cancel] steps back into state-bred company after a game third-place finish in an open-company optional claimer on September 23 at Pimlico Race Course, where he sported blinkers for the first time.

Trained by Carlos David, the Poseidon’s Warrior dark bay tracked in second in the six-furlong sprint before taking command at the half-mile call and to the top of the lane. He lost the advantage down the stretch to oncoming foes, but kept on well enough to secure show honors just 1 3/4 lengths back of the victorious Boy Magic. The runner-up in that race, Catahoula Moon, exited that effort to win the Maryland Million Nursery on October 14.

Completing the field are:

  • Stakes-placed Bonne Chance [post 2, Kendrick Carmouche] for trainer Bruce Levine
  • Wine Responsibly [post 5, Jose Lezcano] for trainer Linda Rice
  • Detective Tom [post 4, Trevor McCarthy] for trainer Michelle Nevin
  • Perliano [post 7, Joel Rosario] for conditioner Rob Atras
  • Taporical [post 9, Romero Ramsay Maragh] for conditioner Rachel Sells