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The Kentucky Derby Trail continues this weekend in New York with the running of the $300,000 Gotham Stakes (G3), which drew a solid field of 11 3-year-olds. The contest is scheduled for race 10 on a loaded card featuring three other stakes. The race’s mile-long distance makes for a unique setting and gives one-turn horses legitimate shots to make the Kentucky Derby starting gate. Post time is set for 5:42 PM ET.
The headliner will be the John Servis-trained Mischevious Alex, who dominated the Swale Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park last time out. He has won three of six lifetime starts, with his other big win coming two starts back in the Parx Juvenile Stakes. He’ll make his New York debut when he breaks from post 6 with Kendrick Carmouche aboard.
Another speedster reappearing from the Swale is Untitled, who finished a well-beaten fourth behind Mischevious Alex. He then returned just 13 days later in an allowance event at Tampa Bay Downs and finished a solid second to the highly-touted Gouverneur Morris. Untitled gets Junior Alvarado aboard when he breaks from post 10.
Montauk Traffic should be interesting here after two straight solid races over the local surface. After breaking his maiden near the end of 2019, Montauk Traffic returned to win the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes last time out, making a furious late rally down the lane for a 1 1/2-length victory. Jose Lezcano will be along to the ride from gate 8 in this contest.
The full field from the rail out: Celtic Strike, Informative, War Stopper, Attachment Rate, Necker Island, Mischevious Alex, Sixto, Montauk Traffic, Flap Jack, Untitled, and First Deputy.
#6 Mischevious Alex – He deserves to be the favorite here after back-to-back dominating stakes performances. Two starts back, he ran away from the competition in the Parx Juvenile Stakes, then again dominated rivals at Gulfstream Park in the Swale. However, his lone loss came going this distance, and the pace looks like it could be very hot. Those are challenges that he’ll have to face, but there is no doubting that he is the most talented horse in the field.
#4 Attachment Rate – He seems to be maturing at the perfect time. After one poor effort as a 2-year-old, he improved greatly in his second start, finishing second in a maiden special weight to Market Analysis on Pegasus World Cup Day. Next time out, he romped in a maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park, winning by 6 1/4 lengths. Trainer Dale Romans is always aggressive with his horses, but this one earned his way into this race. He ships in with a shot to take home the victory.
#8 Montauk Traffic – Two straight victories over the track give this horse an advantage and the pace should set up well for the stretch-running style that he showed in the Jimmy Winkfield. Trainer Linda Rice is having a tremendous meet at Aqueduct, having won the Withers Stakes (G3) with Max Player in the last local prep. He seems like the logical alternative to the heavy favorite.
#10 Untitled – It’s a bit tough to get a solid read on this horse. He was ultra-impressive in his debut race at Gulfstream Park, winning by 11-lengths. After that effort, he was privately purchased and sent to trainer Mark Casse, but things haven’t gone smoothly for his new connections. He was a well-beaten fourth two starts back in the Swale before finishing second last time out in an allowance at Tampa Bay Downs. His talent level seems high, but he really needs to prove himself before we can buy into him completely.
#7 Sixto – After breaking his maiden on debut, trainer Eric Guillot will give this horse a shot at stakes company. His win was impressive enough to think that he has a bit of shot and his speed figure (81 Beyer) came back solid. The stretch out in distance shouldn’t be a problem, either, so only question mark will be how he handles this major step up in class.
#5 Necker Island – He earned some hype with back-to-back victories to end his 2-year-old season, but he was a well-beaten fifth last time out in the Swale. It seems very possible that he could improve off of that effort, though, which makes him interesting if his price floats up high enough. With a cleaner trip, he could become a factor.
#11 First Deputy – This New York-bred will step into open company after two straight victories at Aqueduct, including a dominating allowance win last time out. He’s showing improvement, but this is a much tougher spot for him.
#3 War Stopper – His maiden-breaking race last time out was super impressive, but his three starts prior left a lot to be desired. That has us skeptical of him here, especially since he’s moving up in class in a major way. He’ll need to prove that he can do it again.
#1 Celtic Striker – This colt could be up against it from a pace standpoint, having drawn the rail and stepping up in class. His connections are asking a lot of him in this spot.
#2 Informative – It took him eight tries to break his maiden, which makes jumping into stakes company here a big challenge. We’ll need to see some significant improvement for him to make an impact here.
#9 Flap Jack – Look for him to be the longest shot on the board as he makes his 3-year-old debut in this spot, having not being seen since September 7. We’ll need to see dramatic improvement in the speed figure department for him to compete.
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