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2024 Carter Handicap, Gazelle Stakes, and Distaff Handicap

Jockey Sheldon Russell and Post Time return after winning the Carter Handicap.

Wood Memorial & Bay Shore Stakes

Date: 04/06/2024

There were 4 graded stakes races run over the Aqueduct main track on Saturday. Kicking off the stakes quintet on Wood Memorial day was the $300,000 Carter Handicap (G2) presented by NYRA Bets for older horses sprinting 7 furlongs and an early prep for the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1). After Petulante scratched, just 4 went to post with Post Time sent off as the 4-5 favorite off a 3 race win streak including the General George (G3) last out at Laurel Park. In to challenge him included 7-5 second choice Super Chow, winner of the Toboggan (G3) and Tom Fool Handicap (G3), 7-1 third choice Whittington Park, winner of the Haynesfield, and 8-1 longest shot Castle Chaos, a close second in the Fred Hooper (G3) before disappointing 6th in the Stymie. Due to the short field show wagering was cancelled.
horse racing
Post Time (outside) and Castle Chaos near the finish in the Carter Handicap

Jockey Madison Olver sent Super Chow to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 24.38, 48.18, and 1:11.88 while pressed by Whittington Park and stalked by Castle Chaos. Into the stretch Super Chow continued to lead but Castle Chaos came through on the rail to lead at the 1/16 pole. Post Time, last early under Sheldon Russell, rallied down the middle of the track and despite being carried out by the drifting Castle Chaos, prevailed by a neck in 1:24.00. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to pacesetter Super Chow third, and 2 more to Whittington Park last.

Photos courtesy Nancy Rokos

Pgm  Horse               Jockey          Win   Place  Show
 3   Post Time          Russell        3.60    2.40  ----
 1   Castle Chaos       Davis                  2.90  ----
 4   Super Chow         Olver                        ----

Winning Time:  1:24.00

$1 Exacta 3-1                 7.00
$1 Quinella 1-3               4.90
Results Chart

Left: Post Time in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Brittany Russell said, "He's a good horse. We suspected that, but he also had to step up outside home. Credit to Super Chow, he's a tough horse. I'm really proud of him. He's great on the racetrack, just a little distracted in the paddock. That is why we tried to keep him a little bit separate there, but he sees the ponies and gets excited but that's him. Everything today was completely normal for him, he's classy on the racetrack, he's good to ride."

Right: The trophy presentation for the Carter Handicap. Winning owner Ellen Charles said, I was born in New York and grew up in Maryland, but it means everything. It's so exciting that these beautiful animals can do what he did today and that he pulled it off. His granddam is Merryweather, and my grandmother was Marjorie Merryweather. I always wanted something out of that mare, because my grandmother was a remarkable woman. And you know what? I do believe he's gotten something from her. He's been exciting."

Left: Post Time walks over before the race. Winning jockey Sheldon Russell said, "This is what good horses do. They overcome a lot of things. You don't really make excuses for good horses they just know how to win. If anything, I probably made a mistake theremoving him up early, but you could see that he was tugging me pretty good and the pace isn't as fast as we were hoping it would be especially when [Petulante] scratched."

Right: Post Time heads to the winner's circle. Russell added, "The smaller the race, the more tactical it becomes. Super Chow was the lone speed on paper. You could see the fractions it was like a dawdle. Post Time never really tugged me like that and he was tugging me pretty good today on a long rein and I didn't want to kill his momentum and him get caught flat footed, so I let him cruise and as I cruised I ended up on the outside of Super Chow and that was not what we talked about."

Left: Second place finisher Castle Chaos returns after the race. Jockey Dylan Davis said, I took the rail all the way through and he got there and jumped like he was going to win. [Super Chow] took [Post Time] all the way out and then the last seventy yards, [Castle Chaos] got a little complacent. He started looking around a little bit, his ears started flickering. He kind of idled that last couple jumps, but he put a great effort up. I thought we were home free after that. When they jumped into the turn, he got a little kickback and that kind of pushed him back a length. I tried to push on in between to get him a clear spot and try to get back into the race. Once he did, I dove back to the rail and tried to keep his run going home."

Right: Third place finisher Super Chow walks over before the race. The Jorge Delgado trainee improved his record to 8 wins, 4 seconds, and 5 thirds in 18 starts, earning $722,900 for owner Lea Farms.

The filly counterpart to the Wood Memorial is the $200,000 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. Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) 8th place finisher Where's My Ring was sent off as the 5-2 favorite in the field of 9 off her 2nd place finish in the Santa Ysabel (G3). In to challenge her included 11-4 second choice Life Talk, winner of the Demoiselle (G2) before finishing 6th in the Suncoast, and 3-1 third choice Barbratina, 2nd in the Cincinnati Trophy at Turfway.

Jockey Mychel Sanchez sent 9-1 Carmelina to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.57, 48.05, and 1:12.80 while pressed by 19-1 Regulatory Risk and stalked by Where's My Ring. Turning for home Carmelina tired allowing Where's My Ring to inherit the lead through 1 mile in 1:37.68. Kept to task by Jose Lezcano, Where's My Ring drew off to win by 4 1/4 lengths over Regulatory Risk in 1:50.33. It was a long 5 1/4 lengths back to 13-2 fourth choice Gin Gin third.

Results Chart

Left: Where's My Ring in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Val Brinkerhoff said, "I'm ecstatic to get a chance like this. I come from the bush tracks in Utah and to get to do this is pretty awesome. It's been a long time getting to here and she's getting better and better, so hopefully by the Oaks, we'll be even better. We have run her with all the best fillies in southern California and that's not an easy spot. Baffert beat us a couple of times [with Kinza], and I actually think we can beat him going 1 1/8, but the race there was 1 1/16, so we opted to come here to get the extra distance. We got a great ride from Jose [Lezcano], a beautiful ride, and that's what it's all about.

Right: The trophy presentation for the Gazelle. Winning owner Michael McMillan said, "Nobody knows the story of this horse. She had colic and almost passed away. Then was beaten a nose in her first race, but what it comes down to is this was her second healthy race. She lost to Kinza, who can't go to the Kentucky Oaks, and is the number one filly in the country in my opinion. We went wide that whole race, this time drew the one post which was a gift for us. We loved it. We are ecstatic. Val is a small-time trainer who knows what he is doing. That is why it shows. We are all family, we love each other, we get along. Did you see us in the stands [celebrating]? That is how we do it. We are family, friends, everything is amazing."

Left: Where's My Ring walks over before the race. Winning jockey Jose Lezcano said, "It feels really good. It's the first time I rode her. She told me she would do everything right and I watched a couple of the replays and she takes a couple steps before full stride. Today she broke pretty good and took two or three jumps before going full stride and after that I already had somebody in front of me."

Right: Where's My Ring at the finish. Lezcano added, "She did everything right and waited for my asking and went on to win the race. I tried to keep her close. I didn't know how she'd react to dirt in the face so I kept her very close and never got dirt in the face and she gave me everything she had. I had plenty left in the tank."

Left: Second place finisher Regulatory Risk returns after the race. Jockey Dylan Davis said, "She ran great stretching out two turns. She was able to track nicely laying second. I had the one [No. 1, Where's My Ring] in a little bit of trouble in the first turn. Tracking nicely, she carried me. She actually never switched off, she had the bridle pretty good all the way to the quarter pole. When I asked her, she picked up nicely, but she was second-best here. I thought she ran a great effort. We think maybe a mile will be better suit - she might give you a better kick."

Right: Third place finisher Gin Gin walks over before the race. The Brad Cox trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds in 7 starts, earning $230,508 for owner-breeder Calumet Farm.

The $175,000 Distaff Stakes (G3) features older fillies and mares sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. After Royal Poppy scratched, just 5 went to post with Hot Fudge sent off as the 6-5 favorite off wins in the Interborough and Correction Stakwes. In to challenge her included 2-1 second choice Ain't Broke off an allowance win, and 5-2 third choice Fingal's Cave, winner of the Bay Ridge last out.

Jockey Kendrick Carmouche sent Hot Fudge to the lead through fractions of 23.57 and 47.50 while pressed by Fingal's Cave and stalked by Ain't Broke. Turning for home Hod Fudge tired allowing Ain't Broke to gain the lead through 3/4 in 1:11.46, but Shidabhuti, 4th early under Dylan Davis, came out 5 wide and rallied to win by 1/2 a length in 1:23.86. It was a long 2 3/4 lengths back to Fingal's Cave third, while favorite Hot Fudge finished last beaten 5 1/2 lengths.

Results Chart

Left: Shidabhuti in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "She ran great. She had a bit of a duel in front of her which really helped her late run there. I was really proud of the horse off the layoff. I thought maybe she needed a race and we could get a nice piece of this and move forward off of it, but as the duel developed it became clear she had a chance to win. It was a good set up for her and she ran great. My team did a great job with her. We'll try to keep her between seven [furlongs] and a mile. The Ruffian could be a good call."

Right: The trophy presentation for the Distaff. Winning jockey Dylan Davis said, "I know the rail has been good, I just wanted to save as much ground as possible. I saw those two horses go to it, I could've stayed in the three-wide spot and gave her clear air, opted to come inside in between them, she switched off. She's more of an in-the-bridle kind of horse and she responds well, not too much sticking. She's a great responder as long as you get her into stride and she gets into a comfortable rhythm, you know that she is going to come with a big run."

Left: Second place finisher Ain't Broke returns after the race. Jockey Eric Cancel said, "She ran a very good race. That filly always tries 120 percent. I'm really happy with her performance. I wish I could have gotten the win, but I have to be happy with a second. She's a very talented filly. Very straightforward. I don't think she'll have any problem running [in future graded stakes] and improving."

Right: Third place finisher Fingal's Cave in the post parade. The David Donk trainee improved her record to 5 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 7 starts, earning $391,500 for owners Alifyfe Racing and Mo Speed Racing.

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 Stakes

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