Mohaymen looks a Derby threat in Nashua win
Updated - 11/5/2015
Kiaran McLaughlin worried about kickback, the break and his $2.2 million horse's lack of experience heading into Wednesday's Grade II Nashua Stakes. Then Mohaymen simply showcased his class, rolling to a win in the $200,000 race for 2-year-olds on Aqueduct's opening day.
"We definitely have Derby fever," McLaughlin said after the son of Tapit covered a one-turn mile in 1:36.01 at even-money odds.
Mohaymen hammered as a co-sales topper at Keeneland in September 2014 and has so far lived up to the hype, breaking his maiden Sept. 19 at Belmont Park before Wednesday's score. He was clearly the best of the seven-horse field in New York for owner Shadwell Stable.
After sitting sixth of seven early in the one-turn mile, Mohaymen kicked in the turn under jockey Junior Alvarado and drew clear in the stretch for a 1 3/4-length victory over Flexibility, who nipped Saily Ahoy at the wire.
"He was a little upset warming up," Alvarado said. "He didn't want to be around the pony too much today. Once we got to the gate he didn't want to load and inside he kept rocking back and forth, but when we got to break I just tried to get him in the best position. After the half-mile pole it was all him. He took me on a nice ride, all I tried to do was not fall off."
Mohaymen, who paid $4.20 on Wednesday, went into the week 30-1 in Wynn Las Vegas' Derby 142 future odds. Only Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Nyquist (15-1), runner-up Swipe (20-1) and third-place Brody's Cause (25-1) had shorter prices, each of them having already competed at the graded stakes level more than once.
"He's a very talented horse and I'm glad he lived up to the betting public's odds," McLaughlin said. "He's got a great pedigree."
Next for the undefeated colt is either Churchill Downs' Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club on Nov. 28 or Aqueduct's Remsen Stakes the same day, McLaughlin said. Both offer qualifying points on the road to Derby 142.
Frosted fires bullet at Greentree Training Center for BC Classic
Updated - 10/26/2015
By: Twinspires.com on October 23, 2015
A key group of Breeders' Cup candidates readied for their respective assignments next weekend at their New York bases on Friday morning, led by Frosted, who fired a bullet half-mile at Greentree Training Center near Saratoga Race Course in his final breeze ahead of the October 31 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland.
The Tapit three-year-old earned an official time of :47 for the move and galloped out in a solid :59 2/5, according to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who added that all systems are a "go" for next Saturday's Classic at Keeneland.
"He'll ship from Greentree on Monday and should arrive Tuesday morning. He couldn't be doing any better," McLaughlin said.
Frosted, winner of the TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial (G1) this spring at Aqueduct, has finished behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah thrice this year, including a second-place finish behind the champion in his history-clinching sweep of the Belmont S. (G1) in June.
McLaughlin, for his part, is optimistic about Frosted's chances to turn the tables on his rival on racing's world stage.
"Thinking about the race with my handicapper hat on, American Pharaoh is going to be tough because he should be on an uncontested lead," the horseman explained. "Hopefully Beholder puts some pressure on him, that would be great. Maybe we're laying second or third, but I think the race shape will be OK for us."
Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) contender Wedding Toast, winner of the Beldame S. (G1) and Ogden Phipps S. (G1) in her last two, also turned in her final work for McLaughlin at Greentree. The Street Sense mare covered a half-mile in :49.40.
"Wedding Toast worked a little slower than Frosted but galloped out real strong," McLaughin said. "It rained (on Thursday) so we had to change plans; we usually give ourselves options.
“I think she should be on or near the lead. There's a couple of them that could put pressure on us. Hopefully two turns is not a negative. She loves one turn, especially at Belmont Park, so hopefully it's not a negative. She's doing great and I think she is the filly to beat."
McLaughlin will also saddle Test S. (G1) winner Cavorting, who breezed a half-mile in :48.77 over Belmont Park's fast training track Thursday, for the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
"I think (Cavorting is) the filly to beat even though she's facing older fillies. Seven furlongs is her best distance," he said.
Rounding out McLaughlin's Breeders' Cup contingent is Sentiero Italia, most recently third in the October 10 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland, who is scheduled to train up to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
"I would've liked more time between races, but she's run well enough to deserve a shot," McLaughlin remarked. "If we draw inside and there's not much pace, we could sit second or third. I think we're very live."
Meanwhile, Christophe Clement's Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) trainee, Red Vine, turned in a five-furlong maintenance work over Belmont's fast main track Friday morning, covering the distance in 1:01.12.
The Kelso S. (G2) runner-up, who breezed a bullet five-eighths in :59.45 last Saturday, worked solo with jockey Joel Rosario aboard.
"I thought he worked well. He worked a touch more aggressively than we might have expected last week so, by design, we worked him on his own today," Clement said. "Joel seemed very happy with him afterwards. I'm very happy. The horse came back in good shape and, as of now, everything's good."
Clement reported that his Classic candidate, two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) hero Tonalist, is scheduled to have his final breeze Saturday morning with regular jockey John Velazquez, while Hard Not to Like is set to work over the turf ahead of her bid in the Filly & Mare Turf.
Clement's Breeders' Cup delegation is slated to ship from Belmont to Keeneland on Monday, according to the trainer.
Frosted photo courtesy of NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography
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