by NYRA Press Release
December 13, 2017
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has canceled Wednesday's live racing program at Aqueduct Racetrack due to sustained high winds forecast to continue through the afternoon in the New York City metropolitan area.
Live racing is scheduled to resume on Thursday, December 14 at Aqueduct, with a first post of 12:50 p.m.
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable's Vino Rosso got his breakthrough victory on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack, surging from off the pace to outkick Grade 3 Gotham winner Enticed to win the 94th running of the Grade 2, $1 million Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets by three lengths and pick up 100 points, securing a bid in the Kentucky Derby. It was the first stakes victory in three tries for Vino Rosso, who finished a close third in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis and was fourth in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, where he added blinkers for the first time and stalked the early pace before dropping back under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. Saturday's win also gave trainer Todd Pletcher his fifth in the Wood Memorial. In the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial, Vino Rosso settled in mid-pack through the early going as Gotham runner-up Old Time Revival seized the early lead in the field of nine. Old Time Revival drew off up the backstretch by six lengths or more ahead of Enticed, the 6-5 favorite, and California import Restoring Hope through an opening quarter-mile in 22.96 seconds and a half in 46.68. Vino Rosso, a chestnut colt by Curlin, began his march toward the leaders in the far turn as Old Time Revival relinquished control to Enticed and Restoring Hope after six furlongs in 1:11.44. Turning for home, Restoring Hope backed off slightly, leaving Vino Rosso and Enticed, ridden by Junior Alvarado, to lock horns in heated stretch duel. Vino Rosso shook clear in the final strides to complete the route in 1:49.79. There was a stewards' inquiry and a jockey's objection lodged by Alvarado into the stretch run of the race, but no action was taken. "I got close to him and he was coming out," said Velazquez. "So, I made my horse switch leads and when he switched, I leaned on him a little bit, and then he pushed me out and my horse went right back on him. That's what happened. I got him easy, anyway. He was holding his ground out and I was holding him back in. He was the horse to beat and I wasn't going to give him a chance." Sent off at 4-1, Vino Rosso returned $10.40 for a $2 win wager. Vino Rosso was a $410,000 yearling purchase at the 2016 Keeneland September sale and has bankrolled $620,500 in five career starts, including back-to-back maiden and optional claimer wins last fall. "I was a little worried right at the start, because his hind-end kind of slipped out leaving the gate, and it looked [like] it took him about a hundred yards to get engaged," said Pletcher, who also won the Wood Memorial with Eskendereya (2010), Gemologist (2012), Verrazano (2013), and Outwork (2016). "He was a little farther back than I thought he would be, but when you take the pacesetter out, he really was close to the contenders," he continued. "I felt good about it. I was just hoping he would sustain his momentum around the turn, and he finished up and did great. We're feeling like we're seeing a horse that has that talent, and he's doing well, and we felt like that mile and an eighth is something he's looking for. This is the performance we've been looking for." As part of the official Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series, the Wood Memorial awarded Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Enticed an additional 40 qualifying points to bring his total to 103. "We ran very well to finish second, but I thought [the stewards] could have put us up," said McLaughlin. "It was an excellent race, we finished second, and he deserved to win. I'm sure there will be no change [in our plans to continue to the Kentucky Derby]. He ran a great race." Restoring Hope held on for third, 2 ¼ lengths behind Enticed, to earn 20 Derby points. It was another six lengths back to Grade 1 Champagne winner Firenze Fire, who earned an additional 10 points for a total of 39. Heartfullofstars, King Zachary, Evaluator, Old Time Revival, and Catch Twenty Two completed the order of finish.
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The Road to the Kentucky Derby is a bit shorter following the conclusion of Saturday's Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham at Aqueduct Racetrack, as Godolphin's homebred colt Enticed closed outside to win the mile race by 2 ¾ lengths in a final time of 1:38.24. Making his fifth career start, the son of Medaglia d'Oro drew the outside post among the field of nine, which gave trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and jockey Junior Alvarado the option of laying outside while letting the rest sort themselves out to their inside. All that was needed was a clean break and a clear path, McLaughlin had said before the race, and that's exactly what Enticed delivered. "It worked out great," said McLaughlin. "Junior rode a great race. The 'clean faced' plan worked out well. It was a great run and everything went perfect. It was a great race." From the gate, Maryland shipper Old Time Revival set the early pace while Cove Blue, one of two sent by trainer Dale Romans, sat close in company with Nine Route to his outside. The trio led the way while Enticed sat patiently to the outside under Alvarado, while 9-5 favorite Free Drop Billy and jockey Dylan Davis settled well behind with only Whereshetoldmetogo beat through the early going. After an opening quarter-mile in 23.14 seconds, Free Drop Billy began a steady advance with Firenze Fire, the 5-2 second wagering choice, ahead of him in sixth. Old Time Revival took the field through a half-mile in 46.43 and continued to look strong under Jeremy Rose as Enticed began to make a run. Into the stretch, Enticed came outside, forcing Old Time Revival to work harder and, with three-quarters going in 1:11.77, the 4 ½-length margin held by the leader was diminished, as Enticed drew clear to the wire under Alvarado. "He broke good," Alvarado said. "I wanted to make sure to be a little close, but I felt the first part of the race, we were going a little fast for the way the track was playing today. I wanted to make sure I kept him clear on the outside. I didn't want to get him in trouble at all because he's a horse that takes a while to get going. "As soon as we turned for home, I knew it was just a matter of time when he switched leads for him to give me that next gear," he continued. "As soon as he started moving along again, he was much the best horse today." Free Drop Billy, in search of his second graded stakes victory from seven starts came up short with his late effort, but it's just another part of the building process, according to trainer Dale Romans. With his third in the Gotham, the Union Rags colt added another 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to bring his total to 24. "We got 10 points today," Romans said. "If he belongs, we'll have enough points to get there. Right now, that should be enough. He still has to come back and run well next time. I think he ran a clean trip. There was some good things to see, but I wanted him to win. I thought he would win. "He ran in the end away from the horse coming for fourth down the lane. That was good and he kept on going. Looked like he galloped out strong. Two turns would probably be better. We'll take him back to Florida and probably go to the [Grade 1] Bluegrass [April 7]. He's already a Grade 1 winner there, but we'll go from there. We're disappointed, but not discouraged." Runner-up Old Time Revival, a son of Brethren who was sent off at 35-1, was vanned up from Laurel Park on Friday morning bringing with him just a maiden victory and a second-place finish in the Miracle Wood after he was caught to miss by a neck at the wire. His performance impressed his trainer Kenneth Decker. "He ran a nice race, he's learning and he's getting better and better every time," Decker said. We came back a little quick out of the last race, it was three weeks. He ran a nice race and we'll see how he comes out of it and go from there. "That was his race. You have to let him run his race and let him get out there and get comfortable. We tried to rate him a couple of races back and he just showed us that he can get out there and get his pace. He's going to keep getting better and we'll just keep stretching him out. He handles all the challenges and he's just been a nice colt to work with." Following Free Drop Billy in third was Firenze Fire, Whereshetoldmetogo, Cove Blue, Nine Route, Beautiful Shot, and Dial Operator to complete the order of finish. The Gotham was Enticed's second graded stakes victory after he captured the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Keeneland by a head. That win closed out his 2-year-old campaign after he broke his maiden in the mud at Saratoga and sandwiched a hard-fought third in the Grade 1 Champagne between the two victories. Enticed began 2018 with a tiring fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Holy Bull, but his Gotham victory awarded him 50 points as part of the 50-20-10-5 Derby point system, and will send the earner of $410,680 to Churchill Downs for a start in the Kentucky Derby on May 5. The plan now for McLaughlin and his team will now be whether to ship back to McLaughlin's Florida training base at Palm Meadows in preparation for a possible start in the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial on April 7 and then on to the first Saturday in May. "We'll talk to Jimmy Bell and hopefully look at the Wood Memorial," McLaughlin said. "I've got to talk to Jimmy about bringing him back down here [at Palm Meadows] and train and then fly him back for the Wood Memorial. He did well training here in Florida. Enticed, sent off at 3-1, returned $8.80 on a $2 win bet.