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2023 Gotham Stakes day at Aqueduct

horse racing
Raise Cain heads to the winner's circle after the Gotham Stakes
Date: 03/04/2023

The $300,000 Gotham Stakes (G3) is the first major New York prep for the Kentucky Derby, and is worth 50 points to the winner as part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. Conditions on Long Island were typical for early March, with cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid 40's, however heavy rain overnight downgraded the track to muddy. A full field of 14 three-year-olds contested this 1 mile trip around one turn of the main track, Eyeing Clover sent off as the lukewarm 3-1 favorite, undefeated in 2 starts and making his stakes debut here. In to challenge him included 9-2 second choice Carmel Road, unraced since finishing second in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), and 6-1 third choice Slip Mahoney off his maiden win at third asking.

After 22-1 Howgreatisnate stumbled at the break unseating jockey J.D. Acosta, 13-2 Recruiter and Carmel Road dueled for the lead exiting the chute and down the back through opening fractions of 22.52 and 45.53 while stalked by Eyeing Clover and 83-1 longest shot Radio Red. Turning for home, the pacesetters tired s 23-1 Raise Cain, 9th early under Jose Lezcano, came out 4 wide and swept to the lead through 7f in 1:25.08. Kept to task by Lezcano, Raise Cain drew off late to win by 7 1/2 lengths over late-running Slip Mahoney in 1:38.09. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 30-1 General Banker third, and nose more to favorite Eyeing Clover fourth.

horse racing
Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place  Show
12   Raise Cain         Lezcano      49.00   14.60  9.10
11   Slip Mahoney       McCarthy              6.70  4.70
 6   General Banker     Pennington                  8.40

Winning Time:  1:38.09

$1 Exacta 12-11                81.25
$0.50 Trifecta 12-11-6        367.25
$0.10 Superfecta 12-11-6-13   611.60
Results Chart
Previous winners

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Raise Cain in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Ben Colebrook said, "He finally had some pace to run into, and I think that's what he's been missing to be honest. He never really had any pace to close into except in his maiden win. I don't know that it's necessarily one turn that he needs, but I definitely think pace to close into is what he needs because he's such a relaxed horse and he can make that one big run like he did today. More credit goes to Jose [Lezcano] for the ride. It was just a phenomenal ride."

Right: Trophy presentation for the Gotham. Winning jockey Jose Lezcano said, "My horse broke very sharp. I let him break running away from there and when I passed the chute, I saw everybody looking and going outside. I crossed outside to inside and my horse did everything so easy. He did whatever I asked him to do."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Raise Cain walks over before the race. Colebrook added, "He's bred to go longer and if he were to go on to the Derby, you usually get plenty of pace in there. I think more than anything pace is what he needs. He's never run a bad race. The first race you can throw out because he's so lackadaisical and he didn't know what was going on until after the race. I ran him back after his maiden win going three-quarters [in the Bowman Mill] just because the race was at Keeneland. I probably ran him back too quick and six furlongs might be a little too sharp. But he didn't run bad that day and the synthetic race was what it was. It just wasn't the right surface for the horse."

Right: Raise Cain just past the finish with the riderless Howgreatisnate inside. Lezcano added, "I think [Mr. Swagger] was in the second path and I tried to go through, but when I tried to go through he came over and I had to check a little bit and go around. My horse did it very easy. He's a very light horse and when I asked him, he got right back into the race."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Slip Mahoney returns after the race. Jockey Trevor McCarthy said, "I really didn't get a good break. After that, they were flying up front so I just let him settle. The way the closers were playing the last few races, especially with the pace, maybe it was a blessing in disguise. I had to make a wide rally. There were just so many horses that were backing up in front of me. I had a super-wide rally, but he seemed to finish really well and that was probably the better part of the track anyway."

Right: Third place finisher General Banker returns after the race. Trainer Jimmy Ferraro said, "He just keeps trying and coming. Looking and watching some of those earlier races, it looked like horses were coming closing today. I told Frankie [Pennington] to just lay off that speed. We'll have to think about [the Wood Memorial], that's for sure."

horse racing
Little Vic wins the Tom Fool Handicap

Immediately before the Gotham, a field of 8 older horses contested the $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap (G3) over 6 furlongs on the main track. Malibu (G1) fourth place finisher Nakatomi was sent off as the 2-1 favorite over 9-4 second choice Runninsonofagun, a close second in the Fall Highweight Handicap (G3), and 11-2 third choice Eastern Bay, winner of the General George (G3).

Jockey Jose Lezcano sent 13-1 Chateau to the lead through fractions of 21.92 and 45.14 while pressed by 9-1 Pirate Rick and stalked by 13-2 fourth choice Little Vic. Turning for home, jockey Carlos Olivera moved Little Vic 4 wide for room and he sweept to the front through 5f in 57.20. Little Vic held off late-running Runninsonofagun to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:09.73. It was a neck back to favorite Nakatomi third.

Results Chart
Previous winners

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Little Vic heads to the winner's circle. Winning owner Victor Martinez said, "This horse is a real athlete. When you see a horse like him develop after each and every race, it's just special. It's a feeling that I can't describe in words. I'm just really, really happy. I think he beat a real good group of horses to run second in the last race. The horse that won [Repo Rocks] was just on a whole different level. Like we always say in baseball, you turn the page, come back tomorrow and keep trying, and that's what we did with him. We turned that page, we kept trying and today we are enjoying the nice result."

Right: Little Vic returns after the race. Winning jockey Carlos Olivera said, "It's my first graded win in my career and I'm very happy. It was easy because that's the kind of trip we planned and we expected it. Everything worked out. He is a nice horse, he ran very good and he finished strong."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Runninsonofagun returns after the race. Jockey Kendrick Carmouche said, "He ran very well. I thought he got a little tired on me late, but that's OK. He's got better races coming up in the future and hopefully we get him right to where he was last year and he'll keep running good. It's good whenever you can give them time off and they can come back the same."

Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Nakatomi in the post parade. The Wesley Ward trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 10 starts, earning $416,213 for owners Marc Detampel, Oatar Racing, and Tim Banker.

horse racing
Shidabhuti wins the Busher Stakes

The distaff counterpart to the Gotham is the $250,000 Busher Invitational Stakes featuring a field of 6 three-year-old fillies also going 1 mile on the main track, worth 50 points to the winner as part of the Kentucky Oaks Championship Series. Debut winner Asset Purchase was sent off as the 9-10 favorite over 3-1 second choice Capella, winner of 2 starts, and 7-2 third choice Ziaerati, off her debut win.

Jockey Manny Franco sent Asset Purchase to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 23.54, 47.75, and 1:12.90 while pressed by Ziaerati and stalked by 5-1 fourth choice Shidabhuti. Turning for home, Asset Purchase opened up a 2 length lead through 7f in 1:25.62 but Shidhabuti, taken 4 wide by Dylan Davis, rallied by to win going away by 2 lengths in 1:39.03. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Capella third.

Results Chart
Previous winners

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Shidabhuti in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown, who trains the first two, said, "Both fillies ran well. Dylan [Davis] used good judgement on Shidabhuti to stay close and they weren't going really fast. He put her in the clear in the stretch and he timed it just right. "She's just a horse who is improving and I know her numbers didn't look that fast going into the race, but now she's won all three of her starts, so it's hard to fault her. She has continued to improve and she should continue to improve with distance." She will go next in the Gazelle on April 8.

Right: Shidabhuti in the post parade. Winning jockey Dylan Davis said, "We got some early pressure around the half-mile pole and she didn't really like it too much. I just let her get a feel for it and she got some rhythm at the 3/8 pole and she really started extending at the 1/8 pole. I was keeping her to task. Just like her last race, it took her a while to get running and to build that momentum up to where she was able to finish it off. Again today, I had to ride her a little early, but once we straightened up again around the eighth pole, she found her stride again. I thought she handled this track pretty well."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Asset Purchase returns after the race. Jockey Manny Franco said, "We were comfortable. I stayed just off [Ziaerati] that I thought was the horse to beat, but my filly got a little tired at the end going a mile for the first time today." Trainer Chad Brown added, "I thought she ran well but in hindsight maybe Manny [Franco] should have allowed her to run a little more early and open up a little. He kept her restrained and kept the rest of the field in the race. But, she still gave a good effort. Asset Purchase opened up pretty easily [in the stretch] and [Franco] was looking around like he had plenty left, so I wasn't so sure Shidabhuti was going to get there."

Right: Third place finisher Capella walks over before the race. The Brad Cox trainee improved her record to 2 wins and 1 third in 3 starts, earning $110,400 for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms.

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