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OZONE PARK, NY – The 2-times stakes-placed Market Alert capitalized on class relief in his last outing and will look to parlay that confidence into his first stakes score when he competes as part of a 7-horse field in Saturday’s $200,000 New York Stallion Stakes Series (NYSSS) Times Square for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Times Square is slated as Race 7 on the 9-race program, with the slate’s other stakes being the $100,000 Woodhaven for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf in Race 8. First post of 1:20 PM Eastern.
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WellSpring Stables’ Market Alert capped his juvenile campaign with back-to-back third-place finishes in stakes company at the Big A, earning blacktype in the Notebook going 6 furlongs on a track labeled good in November before running 1 1/4 lengths back to winner Hold the Salsa in the NYSSS Great White Way at 7 furlongs on a fast track in December.
Trainer James Ryerson dropped the gelded son of D’Funnybone down in class for his sophomore debut on February 21 going 6 furlongs at Aqueduct, and he responded with a 1/2-length win that netted him a personal-best 73 Beyer Speed Figure. Market Alert will now look to stretch back out to 6 1/2 furlongs for the 28th running of the Times Square.
“He’s a nice horse and I think he has some limitations distance-wise, but 6 ½ should be good for him,” Ryerson said. “He breezed Saturday and has been training well and looks good. The distance and the fact that it’s a stallion race, it made it hard to pass on, so hopefully everything goes well.”
Jose Ortiz will have the call from post 5, with Ryerson saying he’s hoping the New York homebred sustains his recent propensity to put himself in a forward position.
“He has tactical speed to be able to put himself in the race, and he’s done that in his last two [starts],” Ryerson said. “I think that’s been the biggest difference in him from 2-to-3-years old. He breaks better and puts himself in races. That’s what we are hoping for on Saturday.”
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Eddie F’s Racing Lobsta, bred by Fedwell Farm, will make his second stakes appearance overall and first since running second to Nicky the Vest in the Gander on February 21 going a one-turn mile at the Big A. The Gary Sciacca trainee made his debut on New Year’s Eve at Aqueduct, running fifth, before starting 2021 with a 5 3/4-length maiden-breaking win just 17 days later.
After the Gander runner-up, Lobsta bested Schokolade by a neck over a sloppy tack at 1 mile on March 28 at Aqueduct. Eric Cancel, aboard for all of the Emcee colt’s previous 4 starts, will have the return assignment, drawing the outermost post 7.
“It’s a cutback, so we’ll see (how he does),” said owner Ed Fazzone. “I know Lobsta loves the one-turn mile at Aqueduct. His first time out was going 6 furlongs and he broke bad and it was a sloppy track. He’s matured pretty good since and that race did a lot for him.”
“Eric says he’s very professional and so far has done everything right,” Fazzone added. “We ran into a nice horse in the Gander in Nicky the Vest. When we turned for home there and Nicky the Vest took off, it was pretty amazing just how game Lobsta was to keep fighting on for second that day.”
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Mr. Amore Stable’s It’s Gravy has finished in the money in each of his 3 previous stakes appearances and will look to break through after running third in the 7-furlong Damon Runyon last out on March 14.
The homebred Freud gelding is 1-2-3 in 6 starts for trainer Kelly Breen, entering with a field-best $133,344 in earnings, and has an even 1-1-1 ledger in 3 career Aqueduct appearances. Junior Alvarado will be in the irons from post 3.
Rounding out the field is four entries making their respective stakes debuts, including Devious Mo, who broke his maiden in his seventh start last out for trainer Rudy Rodriguez [post 1, Manny Franco]; Papa Smooth, fourth in his debut for trainer Mike Maker last month [post 6, Kendrick Carmouche]; Sinful Dancer, who ran second in his first start on March 7 at Aqueduct for conditioner George Weaver [post 4, Hall of Famer Javier Castellano]; and Writer’s Regret [post 2, Trevor McCarthy] for conditioner James Ferraro.
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