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2022 Carter Handicap, Gazelle Stakes, and Distaff Handicap

Junior Alvarado celebrates aboard Speaker's Corner after winning the Carter Handicap.

Wood Memorial & Bay Shore Stakes

Date: 04/09/2022

There were 5 graded stakes races run over the Aqueduct main track on Saturday. The only Grade 1 event on Wood Memorial day was the $300,000 Carter Handicap (G1) presented by NYRA Bets for older horses sprinting 7 furlongs and an early prep for the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1). Speaker's Corner was sent off as the 3-4 favorite in the field of 7 pff wins in the Fred Hooper (G3) and Gulfstream Park Mile (G2). In to challenge him included 4-1 second choice Mind Control, unraced since winning the Parx Dirt Mile in September, and 6-1 third choice First Captain off an allowance win at Gulfstream.

Jockey Manny Franco sent 13-2 fourth choice Reinvestment Risk to the front out of the chute through an opening quarter of 23.17 before favorite Speaker's Corner took over down the backstretch and around the turn through a half in 46.11. Speaker's Corner, confidently ridden by Junior Alvarado left the field behind on the turn for home, opening up a 4 length lead through 3/4 in 1:09.40, and cruising the rest of the way to win by 4 1/2 lengths over Reinvestment Risk in 1:21.34. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to Mind Control third.

Pgm  Horse               Jockey          Win   Place  Show
 8   Speaker's Corner   Alvarado       3.50    2.70  2.30
 1   Reinvestment Risk  Franco                 5.10  3.40
 4   Mind Control       Rosario                      2.70

Winning Time:  1:21.34

$1 Exacta 8-1                 8.40
$1 Trifecta 8-1-4            23.70
$1 Superfecta 8-1-4-2        68.20
Results Chart

Left: Speaker's Corner in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "We thought he was talented as a 2-year-old. He had some little issues that we had to give him time for and then we had to give him more time than what we wanted to, but right now it looks like it's turned out well. That was a prime target [winning a Grade 1]. That was the goal. The horse who ran huge was the one that ran second [Reinvestment Risk], because he's not that seasoned a horse."

Right: Speaker's Corner in the post parade.

The trophy presentation for the Carter Handicap. Winning jockey Junior Alvarado said, "He is a horse who we have always been very high on. We figured out what he wants to do. He's a very good miler. Today, we had a great trip, and he was there the whole way around. He was very much the best horse. He took the lead around the half-mile pole and after that, he was just doing his thing. He ran them off their feet early. He was travelling comfortably and was faster than the other horses. He gave me the same kick at seven-eighths as a mile. He's on his "A" game right now. He'll be a tough horse this year."

Left: Second place finisher Reinvestment Risk in the post parade. Jockey Manny Franco said, "I thought I was second-best today. My horse ran really well. I just tried to find my spot there inside. I was in the right spot the whole way around. I was happy with the way he ran. He's really nice. The winner is in his prime right now, but I think my horse will improve after this race."

Right: Third place finisher Mind Control returns after the race. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "He ran really well. He broke well and I was in a good spot. When the horse on the outside put a little pressure on the turn, he handled it really well. It looked the winner was much the best. He ran great."

The filly counterpart to the Wood Memorial is the $250,000 Gazelle Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies, also contested at 1 1/8 miles, worth 100 points to the winner as part of the Kentucky Oaks Championship Series. Demoiselle (G2) runner-up and Busher Invitational winner Venti Valentine was sent off as the 11-10 favorite in the field of 7. In to challenge her included 2-1 second choice Classy Edition, 2nd in the Davona Dale (G2), and 4-1 third choice Nostalgic, an allowance winner after finishing 9th in the Sweetest Chant (G3).

Jockey Manny Franco sent Venti Valentine to the front first time by and she set fractions of 24.48, 49.26, and 1:13.93 while pressed by Classy Edition and stalked by 20-1 Divine Huntress and Nostalgic. Turning for home Venti Valentine continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:38.27 but Nostalgic rallied on the inside to take the lead at the 1/16 pole. Kept to task by Jose Ortiz, Nostalgic drew off late to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:50.41. It was another 2 lengths back to 21-1 Shotgun Hottie third.

Results Chart

Left: Nostalgic heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "You can see where she was in her first couple of races, so far back. She put him in the race today. Last time, we planned on putting her up in the race a little bit, which we did again today. We wanted to see her engaged early a little more and she did it. She held her position and came through on the rail. I didn't tell him where to be other than we didn't want to be 15 lengths back. She just hadn't learned how to put in that kind of a run yet. She hadn't learned how to get that position. It all goes together, it's just maturity, time and she had a good winter at Payson Park."

Right: The trophy presentation for the Gazelle. Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, "She reminds me a lot of Elate. I was very happy to ride her today. With Keeneland going on right now, you don't know where you're going to be riding, so I was happy to be on her. I rode her with a lotof confidence. I knew she was doing well. She ran amazing last time. She wokeup which was the most important thing. As a 2-year-old, she won first time out but she was very green. She's big and she's supposed to keep going longer and longer. I am very excited about her."

Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Venti Valentine walks over before the race. Trainer Jorge Abreu said, "She ran her race and I think like Manny said, he didn't think that [Nostalgic] was going to come back at the eighth pole and by that time he looked, the horse was already there. But I think he gave her a great ride. She's used to having a target and today she was by herself on the lead. It was a whole different scenario because there was no speed in the race. If she tracks somebody, that puts her on the bit."

Right: Third place finisher Shotgun Hottie returns after the race. Jockey Trevor McCarthy said, "She's gutsy and always give 100 percent. We always thought the mile and an eighth would suit her. I wish I had gotten out a little bit sooner. She's a bit of a grinder and I had to wait until I could get out, but when she got out she really gave me 100 percent and a good effort."

Left: The fillies break from the gate for the Gazelle. Jockey Manny Franco aboard Venti Valentine said, "I thought it [the trip] was perfect, with the slow fractions with the track that we have today. She was giving me all she had, I just didn't expect [Jose Ortiz] to be there at the eighth pole. I just led one path and it wasn't much. His filly just helped him and just beat me."

Right: Pony boy Niko Ordonez, on Luther, checks his messages as he waits for the field in the Gazelle Stakes to emerge from the paddock.

Kicking off the Saturday stakes action, the $150,000 Distaff Handicap (G3) featured a field of 5 older fillies and mares sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. Last year's Acorn (G1) winner Search Results, unraced since 3rd in the Test (G1) at Saratoga, was sent off as the 3-5 favorite over 9-4 second choice Glass Ceiling,winner of the Barbara Fritchie (G3), and 13-2 third choice Zaajel, unraced since 5th in the Beldame (G2) in October.

Jockey Kendrick Carmouche sent 13-1 longest shot Kept Waiting to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 22.98 and 45.98 while pressed by Glass Ceiling and stalked by favorite Search Results. Turning for home Glass Ceiling took over the lead through 3/4 in 1:09.46. Kept to task by Dylan Davis, Glass Ceiling drew off late to win by 5 lengths over Kept Waiting in 1:21.71. It was a long 8 1/2 lengths back to Search Results third.

Results Chart

Left: Glass Ceiling returns after the race. Winning trainer Charlton Baker said, "She was stalking great and the [Search Results] didn't really have her normal race or come back the same. When she was stalking, I was confident because I knew she was going to kick down the lane. She always gives you that run down the lane and then the four kept going further back so it was a two-horse race for me. [She's won] four-in-a-row, so we're going to try to keep it going."

Right: The trophy presentation for the Distaff Handicap. Winning jockey Dylan Davis said, "She's on the right path and Charlie is doing a great job with her. She's improving with every start and I enjoy riding her. She does everything right and lays it on the line. I couldn't be any happier with her today. If I were to have had a challenger late down the lane, she would have a little more extra for me. I wanted to break well. With Dealing Justice scratching, I knew maybe Kendrick [Carmouche] would take over. Once Jose [Ortiz, aboard Search Results] was took out of there, I just sat right off the flank of Kendrick and she was there for me when I asked her."

Left: Second place finisher Kept Waiting walks over before the race. Jockey Kendrick Carmouche said, "No speed in the race. I figured to put the horse on the lead and see how far we can carry her. The best horse won the race. My filly ran a game race for second and I think she'll improve each time she goes out with these horses. Looking for a good future with her."

Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Search Results returns after the race. Jockey Jose Ortiz said, "The filly that won has been running all winter. She's seasoned and doing well. She had good position. Dylan [Davis] was sitting in the right spot. My filly ran good. It was her first start of the year, and we got it out of the way."

The $100,000 Danger's Hour Stakes featured a field of 7 older horses going 1 mile on the turf. Value Proposition was sent off as the 6-5 favorite over 3-1 second choice City Man and 5-1 third choice Price Talk. Jockey Manny Franco sent Value Proposition to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 24.01, 49.15, and 1:13.79 while pressed by 6-1 fourth choice Rinaldi and stalked by City Man. Turning for home jockey Joel Rosario sent City Man 3 wide for room and he swept to the front through 7/8 in 1:25.41. Kept to task by Rosario, City Man drew off late to win by 2 1/4 lengths over late-running 13-1 Sanctuary City in 1:37.58. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to favorite Value Proposition third.

Results Chart

Left: City Man returns after the race. Winning trainer Christophe Clement said, "That's what good horses do. He came back well from Florida where he had a little break. He shipped up here well in good shape and everything worked out. He's always been a nice horse. He's been at stakes level since he was a 2-year-old."

Right: The trophy presentation for the Danger's Hour Stakes. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, "It looked like the set up with the pace was good for him, and after that it looked like I had the best horse in the race. With the way the race unfolded, he was in a perfect spot and did a good job after that. I look forward to the next one."

Left: Second place finisher Sanctuary City returns after the race. Jockey Ruben Silvera said, "I think the horse needed the race because he had three months without running, so I guess he's ready for next time. With this horse, hes coming little by little. He's a nice horse."

Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Value Proposition heads out to the track. The Chad Brown trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 2 seconds, and 4 thirds in 15 starts, earning $452,373 for owner Klaravich Stables.

On to the Wood Memorial and Bay Shore Stakes also on the card.

Past winners of the Carter Handicap
Past winners of the Gazelle Stakes
Past winners of the Distaff Handicap
Past winners of the Danger's Hour Stakes

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