SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Godolphin Racing’s homebred Enticed took the lead with a powerful sweep through the far turn, then walked home the final furlong en route to victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.
Breaking cleanly from post 9 under Junior Alvarado, Enticed ran mid-pack while Cove Blue and Old Time Revival took turns dueling through fractions of :23.14, :46.43, and 1:11.77. Running five-wide into the far turn, Enticed began moving forward and cutting inward, then was let loose at the top of the stretch. Charging hard with a wicked turn of foot, Enticed quickly earned a multiple-lengths lead on his foes. Alvarado noticed the large gap and began cooling down his horse to a light jog with a furlong remaining, yet still crossed the wire with a 2 3/4-length lead in a final time of 1:38.24 for the mile-long main track event.
“He broke good,” Alvarado said. “I wanted to make sure to be a little close, but I felt the first part of the race, we were going a little fast for the way the track was playing today. I wanted to make sure I kept him clear on the outside. I didn’t want to get him in trouble at all because he’s a horse that takes a while to get going. As soon as we turned for home, I knew it was just a matter of time when he switched leads for him to give me that next gear. As soon as he started moving along again, he was much the best horse today.”
Old Time Revival held on well to take second, 4 lengths ahead of the favored Free Drop Billy in third. Firenze Fire, winner of the two previous Derby prep races at Aqueduct, struggled to make up ground after running rank early and settled for fourth. Whereshetoldmetogo, Cove Blue, Nine Route, Beautiful Shot, and Dial Operator completed the order of finish.
The Gotham is part of the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Enticed earned 50 points for the win, with Old Time Revival receiving 20 for second, Free Drop Billy 10 for third, and Firenze Fire 5 for fourth.
Enticed returned to victory lane for the first time since taking the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs last November, a race that has now returned four winners. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained son of Medaglia d’Oro increased his career earnings to $410,680 with a record of 5-3-0-1.
“It worked out great,” McLaughlin said. “Junior rode a great race. The ‘clean-faced’ plan worked out well. It was a great run and everything went perfect. It was a great race.”
Enticed returned $8.80 to win, $5.40 to place, and $3.60 to show. Old Time Revival brought back $25.80 to place and $9 to show, while Free Drop Billy paid $3 to show.