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Daredevil, Frosted Prepare for Wood Memorial
Updated - 3/30/2015
 
A pair of contenders put in their final works for the Grade 1, $1 million Twinspires.com Wood Memorial on Sunday in advance of the April 4 race at Aqueduct Racetrack.
 
Daredevil, working over the Belmont Park training track, went four furlongs in 48.85 seconds, powering away from a stablemate in the stretch for trainer Todd Pletcher.
 
"I thought he did it very well," said Byron Hughes, assistant to Pletcher. "He looked good doing it, went very easily, and galloped out strong; we're definitely happy with the work. It didn't start out as planned [with Daredevil breaking a few lengths in front of his mate], but the rider adapted and had a good hold of him."
 
A son of More Than Ready, Daredevil has made only one start as a 3-year-old, a second-place finish in the Grade 2, seven-furlong Swale on March 7 at Gulfstream Park. As a juvenile, the chestnut colt captured the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont before finishing 11th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, his only start around two turns.
 
"He's very similar to what I saw last year," said Hughes, who oversees Pletcher's New York string during the winter. "Whenever I watch him, I think he can do just about anything."
 
Also on the worktab was Frosted, for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Godolphin Racing, who logged a snappy five-eighths drill at Palm Meadows in Florida. Breezing in company with a pair of horses, Frosted commenced the work behind by a few lengths, but finished ten in front, according to McLaughlin.
 
"He worked great this morning, going five furlongs in a minute and two-fifths," said McLaughlin. "We're excited."
 
Frosted, a son of Tapit, who sired 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, is hoping to rebound off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. Wearing blinkers for the first time in the Fountain of Youth, Frosted pressed a fast pace over a taxing Gulfstream main track and appeared poised to have an impact on the finish, but tired badly in the stretch.
 
"We feel like we've accounted for every issue, and he has no excuse not to run his best race," said McLaughlin. "We know he has talent; he has to show it on Saturday. The track was very tiring for the Fountain of Youth and was again yesterday [for the Florida Derby], so we're happy with our decision."
 
Ocean Knight, a McLaughlin trainee still under consideration for the Wood, will breeze on Monday, after which a decision will be made, according to McLaughlin. The Curlin colt has not run since a head-scratching seventh-place finis in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 7.

 
Withers and Gotham winner El Kabeir put in his final work before the Wood on Monday.

Source: NYRA Communications

 

Munasara is Off the Mark at Gulfstream
Updated - 3/15/2015
Munasara (f, 3, Bernardini--Lahudood {GB}, by Singspiel {Ire}), billed as the 4-5 favorite off the back of a series of bullet works including a best-of-40 half mile drill in :48 flat Mar. 8, lived up to her reputation in this debut. Away without incident, the daughter of champion turf mare Lahudood (GB) raced prominetly in a wide third as the pacesetter doled out fractions of 22.74 and 45.33. She reached contention leaving the bend and leveled off beautifully down the stretch to win by about 2 1/4 lengths. Milaya (Eskendereya) was second. The final time for the seven furlongs was 1:24.32. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0. O-Shadwell Stable. B-Shadwell Farm LLC (KY). T-Kiaran P McLaughlin.
Ocean Knight expected to head Gotham Field
Updated - 3/1/2015
Led by the undefeated Kiaran McLaughlin trainee Ocean Knight, a potential field of eight talented 3-year-olds is shaping up for the Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham on March 7 at Aqueduct Racetrack, the local prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Twinspires.com Wood Memorial on April 4.

The Gotham, which will be joined on Saturday by the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap and $100,000 Cat Cay, will offer the winner 50 qualifying points as part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" system. Additionally, the runner-up will receive 20 points, with 10 points to third and five points to fourth. The previous round of preps, including the Grade 3 Withers at the Big A, was worth 10-5-2-1 points to the top four finishers.

Ocean Knight, undefeated through two career starts, has already had success over Aqueduct's inner track, having won his debut over the surface by an effortless 4 ¼ lengths. The son of Curlin tested graded stakes company in his very next start in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs and responded well to the challenge, earning a hard-fought neck victory after a wide trip.

"He worked very well [on Saturday morning]; 49 and change, just what we were looking for," said McLaughlin, who trains Ocean Knight for Stonestreet Stables. "He ran very well at Tampa, but [Stonestreet] has Carpe Diem to potentially run in the Tampa Bay Derby, and they'd prefer to split them up. We get to run out of our own barn and he already has a win at Aqueduct, so it's an easy decision. We're happy."

McLaughlin is also likely to saddle Classy Class, who finished third in the Withers. Owned by Cheyenne Stables, Classy Class also has a maiden win and a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Remsen to his credit.

"We thought Classy Class ran very well in the Withers," said McLaughlin. "El Kabeir challenged him a lot earlier than we were expecting, and he ran on well. [In the Gotham], we'd prefer to see him come from off the pace; he doesn't need to be on the lead."

Owner Mike Repole is likely to send out an entry of Blame Jim and Dontbetwithbruno. The former most recently finished second in an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park, while the latter broke his maiden last out on February 1 at the Big A.

Others likely for the Gotham include Withers runner-up El Kabeir, Combat Diver, Lieutenant Colonel and Tencendur.

The 40th running of the six-furlong Tom Fool is likely to feature Dads Caps, who finished second last out in the Grade 3 Toboggan on February 7 for trainer Rudy Rodriguez and owner Vincent Scuderi.

Also expected are Maleeh, for Shadwell Stable and McLaughlin, the John Terranova-trained West Hills Giant, Schivarelli, and Sonny Inspired.

The second edition of the Cat Cay, which was won by Princess of Sylmar last year in its inaugural running, is likely to be headed by Holiday's Jewel, who is trained by Mitchell Friedman for Sunny Meadow Farm. The Ladies' Handicap winner is slated to meet six other older fillies and mares, including Storied Lady, winner of the Bay Ridge Stakes at Aqueduct in December 2014. Evening Show for trainer Steve Klesaris, Fortune Pearl, Lunar Surge, Mylitta, and Shayjolie are also probable.

Source: NYRA Communications
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