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Gotham Stakes 2024 | Aqueduct Replay [Kentucky Derby]
Deterministic (Janet Garaguso / NYRA)

Gotham Stakes 2024 | Aqueduct Replay [Kentucky Derby]

The Christophe Clement-trained Deterministic won the 2024 Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct, a prep race for the Kentucky Derby (G1).

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Watch the race replay here:

The press release:

Deterministic put an exclamation point on the starting point of his sophomore season with a decisive win in Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham at Aqueduct Racetrack and in the process put himself onto the Road to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. 

With his victory in the one-turn mile Gotham, the son of Liam’s Map, who is trained by Christophe Clement and was ridden by Joel Rosario, earned 50 qualifying points towards s spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

Deterministic, a $625,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase owned by the partnership of St. Elias Stable, Ken Langone, Steven Duncker, and Vicarage Stable, answered all the questions surrounding him and the dark bay colt did so with authority. Though he had been idle since winning a seven-furlong maiden on August 12 at Saratoga Race Course in his only previous start, he showed no rust from the seven-month layoff and handled the class jump into graded stakes company against 10 other 3-year-olds with Derby dreams while stretching out in distance. 

“He was very impressive. He confirmed what we believed all along that he’s top class. His works have been top class, as well as his win at Saratoga. He validated it all today,” said Miguel Clement, the assistant to his father, trainer Christophe Clement.

Sent off at 7-2, Deterministic raced just off the pace and was always within striking distance of the leaders as Maximus Meridius and then El Grande O established quick fractions of 23.42 seconds, 46.63, 1:10.94 and 1:23.37 over the sloppy and sealed footing. Traveling 10-wide in upper stretch, Deterministic rallied through the lane and reeled in El Grande O, who had taken over at the quarter-pole. Just a Touch, one of four Brad Cox-trainees in the field and the 8-5 favorite, was also finding his best stride but wound up two lengths behind in second as the winner crossed the wire in 1:36.37. El Grande O held on for third, only a half-length back.

When asked if he thought he and Deterministic would be able to collar El Grande O, Rosario said, “You never know. It looked like when I got inside, he really started responding. It looked like he liked it better in there and I just let him find his way. Sometimes, you’re turning for home and it looks like you’re running well, but the horse in front can be moving better. It was a good race for him. With the muddy track, he handled everything well.” 

Deterministic (Dom Napolitano / NYRA)

For his runner-up finish, Just a Touch collected 25 points. Said Cox, of Just a Touch, “He ran well. It looked like he finished up well. He showed enough speed and he’s obviously still learning, but I think he’ll be better around two turns. He’s big, with plenty of leg, and hopefully he will stretch.”

Florent Geroux had the return call on Just a Touch in the colt’s second start after an impressive maiden win at the Fair Grounds January 27 in the slop.

“I had a good trip, forwardly placed, right off of the two horses in front. He was still a little bit immature. I lost him a little bit. He was not traveling that great in the turn, so I had to ask him a little more than I would have loved to, but I was very happy with the last eighth of a mile. He picked himself up and came back to re-rally and secure the second place,” said the rider. “I think he will be good going two turns. The question today was that he had just broke his maiden. He ran his first race in January, so even though the winner ran one time, he was ready in August. This guy was on the farm somewhere.”

El Grande O, a Linda Rice-trainee piloted by Kendrick Carmouche, added 15 points to his account to take his total to 30 after picking up five points in the Jerome and 10 points in the Grade 3 Withers with runner-up efforts.

“This horse just shows up every time. For a moment, it looked like we might win the race at the eighth pole. Kendrick said to take the blinkers off of him. He can’t see the horses coming, but once he does, he comes again. So, that’s what we’re going to do,” Rice said, adding that the nine-furlong Wood Memorial on April 6 at the Big A is under consideration for his next start.

“I think the mile is fine, but frankly, he ran well at the mile and an eighth too, so we’re going to go to the Wood and I think we will take the blinkers off of him,” Rice said. 

The Wood, which offers 100-50-25-15-10 points, could be the next stop on the Road to the Kentucky Derby for Deterministic as well.

Said Miguel Clement, “Let’s enjoy this for a few days and come up with a plan. I thought he was very impressive today. I don’t think the distance is an issue with him whatsoever. We always thought he wanted to go long. The longer, the better.”

The future for the other three runners from the Cox barn is more in question. In addition to Just a Touch’s runner-up placing, Lightline was seventh, Bergen finished eighth and Air Cav came home last in 11th.

“We might have been overmatched. Now is the time to show you’re going to be a top horse and one of them did and the other three didn’t quire fare as well as we would have hoped,” said the two-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner.

Deterministic, now undefeated in two starts, paid $3.90 for the win and upped his bankroll to $222,750. Bred in Kentucky by Hinkle Farms, he is out of the Speightstown mare Giulio’s Jewel.

Maximus Meridius garnered 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points for coming in fourth and fifth-place Capital Idea earned five points. Deposition, Lightline, Bergen, Eliminate, Facenda, and Air Cav completed the order of finish. Khanate and Slider were scratched.