Road to the Kentucky Derby: The Gotham Stakes

Veteran rider Corey Nakatani, seen here in 2013, rides Gotham Stakes contender Uncle Sigh this Saturday at New York's Aqueduct racetrack. Credit: Getty
Veteran rider Corey Nakatani, seen here in 2013, rides Gotham Stakes contender Uncle Sigh this Saturday at New York’s Aqueduct racetrack. Credit: Getty

The Kentucky Derby may still be two months away, but an important prep race for the Run for the Roses takes place in New York this Saturday, Aqueduct’s historic Gotham Stakes.

Eleven horses are set to contest the $500,000 race, which will be run at 1 and 1/16-mile. It will be the ninth race on a 10-race card, with an approximate starting time of 4:17 p.m.

A total of 85 points will be awarded to the top four finishers, 50 to the winner, 20 to second place, 10 to third place and 5 to fourth place. These points are required in order to be eligible to run in the Kentucky Derby, so this race will be very important toward shaping the Derby field.

An undefeated colt named Samraat is the leading contender. Samraat won the Withers Stakes back on Feb. 1, prevailing over Uncle Sigh after dueling with him throughout the race. The victory earned Samraat 10 Derby points. Jose Ortiz will ride Samraat, and he is coupled in the wagering with Noble Cornerstone, who was last seen finishing seventh in Tampa Bay Downs’ Sam F. Davis Stakes. The entry was set as the 5-2 morning-line favorite.

The aforementioned Uncle Sigh will also run in the Gotham Stakes — he’s the second choice in the wagering at 3-1.

Veteran jockey Corey Nakatani will now ride Uncle Sigh, possibly suggesting a change in strategy, which may be necessary because there is a lot of early speed signed on, including the likes of In Trouble, who will be making his first start of the year.

In Trouble impressed last September when he took the Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park in gate-to-wire fashion, but now he will be asked to carry his speed from six furlongs to 1 1/16-mile. In Trouble, at 6-1, will break from post one and will be ridden by Joe Rocco Jr.

Extrasexyhippzster will look to pad his resume and grab some Derby points in the Gotham; he won the Don Rickles Stakes at Aqueduct and the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park in his last two starts. Juan Pimentel is in the saddle on the 4-1 third choice.

Financial Mogul has been keeping good company, but has yet to score a stakes win. He finished sixth in his last race, the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park where Cairo Prince, a leading Kentucky Derby contender, romped. Shaun Bridgmohan will ride Financial Mogul, set at 10-1 on the morning line.

The widest post position will be occupied by Harpoon, a Todd Pletcher trainee. Harpoon was narrowly beaten in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, losing by a nose to his stablemate Vinceremos. Aqueduct’s leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. will have to make sure Harpoon doesn’t lose too much ground in the opening stages. He is 10-1 on the morning line.

Todd Pletcher also saddles Master Lightning and Monopolize in the Gotham, who are each 20-1. Master Lightning disappointed in the Miracle Wood Stakes in his last start, while Monopolize ran poorly in an allowance race last time out at Gulfstream.

The Daily Racing Form’s David Grening reported on Twitter Wednesday that Monopolize is “likely to scratch…and point for a race in Florida.”

Rounding out the field are Deceived, a 15-1 shot who is coming off an allowance company win, and 20-1 shot Classic Giacnroll, who finished 14 lengths behind Samraat in the Withers Stakes last time out.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Protesters say new Met Opera is anti-Semitic

Protesters, including a former mayor and governor, gathered outside of the Metropolitan Opera on Monday afternoon to protest the opening of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

Local

Brooklyn girl's death ruled a homicide

The New York City Medical Examiner has ruled the death of a Brooklyn toddler a homicide. Jeida Torres, 3, was found bruised and unresponsive Saturday…

Local

New York City continues to prepare for Ebola…

New York City continues to prepare for the possibility of Ebola. There have been numerous scares, but no confirmed cases. Representatives from about 150 unions…

Local

NYPD nabs alleged serial bank robber

  The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for multiple Manhattan bank robberies this month. Police have arrested a Brooklyn man they…

Entertainment

We the Economy: Morgan Spurlock's new crusade

If Morgan Spurlock gets his way, you won't be able to avoid We the Economy, the series of 20 shorts films curated by the "Super…

Arts

3 Parody plays lampoon your childhood, adulthood and…

Whether you loved the source material or you're going in blind, these parody plays have something for every audience member. We rate three of NYC's hottest satirical shows.

Gossip

Who has more power: Harry Styles or Amal…

Amal Clooney comes in fourth on The Evening Standard's Most Influential Londoners list.

Music

#AskPaul McCartney reveals his love of American pop…

For an Englishman, Paul McCartney's pop culture tastes would fit right in stateside. The former Beatle (@PaulMcCartney) revealed that he has a real thing for…

NFL

John Idzik: 'We did a ton of background'…

Given John Idzik spent the previous five years with the Seahawks before he joined the Jets last January, there is a comfort level for the organization.

NFL

Jets add sizzle to struggling passing game with…

The Jets’ trade for Percy Harvin may have an air of desperation on the surface, but at 1-6 this season is hanging only by a thread.

NFL

Jason Pierre-Paul: 'We've got to regroup' during bye…

“We’ve got to regroup and figure out what went wrong,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “When we come back, we want to be a great team.”

NFL

Breno Giacomini: Media blowing up Golden Tate-Percy Harvin…

According to Breno Giacomini, the fight between Golden Tate and Percy Harvin during Super Bowl week was over by the time the lineman turned around.

Education

Is a 'gap year' after high school for…

It’s a familiar script that millions of students follow each year: Graduate high school and then immediately start college. But more and more students are…

Parenting

New news about Kate Middleton's pregnancy

The Palace released a statement about Kate Middleton's pregnancy.

Parenting

Cool book for kids: 'The Princess In Black'

"The Princess In Black" will change the way girls view princesses.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…