From the NYRA Media Team:

Wipe the Slate looks to go from California dreaming to New York state of mind when trekking east for G3 Gotham

Navigating the competitive Kentucky Derby trail will force any 3-year-old to eventually branch beyond an established comfort zone, as steeper competition, expanded race distances and more extensive travel becomes necessary as the first Saturday in May approaches.

Reddam Racing’s Wipe the Slate will look to embrace those challenges, shipping across the country from his base at Santa Anita in California to compete in Saturday’s G3, $300,000 Gotham at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The one-turn mile will offer 50-20-10-5 Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers and will mark Wipe the Slate’s first race outside of the Golden State. The Doug O’Neill trainee ran second in his debut going 6 1/2 furlongs on November 22 at Del Mar before breaking his maiden with an impressive 3 ¼-length score in a seven-furlong sprint on December 26 at Santa Anita to cap his juvenile campaign.

Making his sophomore – and graded stakes debut – Wipe the Slate was stretched out to 1 1/16 miles for his first career route. After bumping a rival, he underwent a wide trip before tiring late, finishing sixth in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis on January 30 at Santa Anita.

Wipe the Slate has continued to train forwardly since that effort, including a six-furlong work in 1:11.60 on Saturday over the Santa Anita main track. A son of Nyquist, the 2016 Kentucky Derby winner, Wipe the Slate will look to benefit from a five-week gap between starts. O’Neill said he expects the Kentucky-bred to handle shipping to the Empire State with aplomb and likes how cutting back to a mile could play to his strength.

“He’s always been an impressive colt,” said O’Neill, who also trained Nyquist. “I think he’ll travel well and I love the one-turn mile for him. We’re excited for days ahead.”

O’Neill said Kendrick Carmouche, the current Aqueduct winter meet-leading rider, will pick up the mount for the Gotham.

The Gotham, which will have its 69th running this coming weekend, has historical strong connections to the “Run for the Roses,” with Secretariat winning it in 1973, tying the track record in an effort that helped propel him to one of the most famous Triple Crown runs in the sport’s history. Other highlights include Easy Goer setting a track record in the 1989 edition, setting a mark of 1:32.40 that still stands.

While both Secretariat and Easy Goer are Hall of Famers, O’Neill has the potential to join them among the inductees, as the veteran conditioner was named one of 11 finalists for the 2021 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame class on Wednesday.

O’Neill, primarily based in California, is one of three trainers among the finalists, along with NYRA mainstays Todd Pletcher and Christophe Clement. The 52-year-old O’Neill is a two-time Derby winner in tandem with Reddam Racing, saddling I’ll Have Another [who also won the Preakness] in 2012 and following four years later with Nyquist, who ran third in the 2016 Preakness.

O’Neill, who trained his first winner in 1989, has five Breeders’ Cup victories to his credit, bolstering a strong resume that features more than 2,500 career wins, including 132 graded stakes. Among his other notable winners was Hall of Famer Lava Man, who won the Hollywood Gold Cup three times and twice both the Santa Anita Handicap and Pacific Classic. Five of his horses have won Eclipse Awards. In addition to his dozens of stakes victories in this country, O’Neill has also tallied international victories in the Godolphin Mile and Japan Cup Dirt.

“The Hall of Fame nomination is a result of working alongside a bunch of amazing horsemen and amazing owners and, of course, amazing horses,” said O’Neill.


Migliore To Open Business as Bloodstock Agent

After six years of experience as a sales associate for Terry Finley’s West Point Thoroughbreds, Joe Migliore said he is going out on his own as a bloodstock agent and plans on being active at the upcoming OBS March Sale in Ocala, Florida.

Migliore said he has taken to heart many of the valuable lessons learned during his time with West Point.

“It’s a great team that they have, a very family type of setting,” Migliore said. “Working for West Point gave me tremendous exposure to how partnerships in the United States work. The team at West Point really go above and beyond what the standard is. I learned quite a bit about dealing with so many different types of owners. There would be some owners that own five percent of one horse and some who own larger shares of multiple horses. That really accelerated the process of how to communicate with certain owners.”

Migliore, 30, is the son of retired jockey and current America’s Day at the Races analyst Richard Migliore. A former intern for NYRA in the press box at Saratoga, Migliore has hit the ground running and is currently in Florida doing his homework on the upcoming OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.

“I’ve been going everywhere from Palm Meadows to talk to trainers to Ocala and visiting a lot of farms and checking out horses that are heading off to the sale,” said Migliore.

Migliore plans on buying for owner Robert Masiello, who currently serves on the board of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and first got involved in ownership in 2005 when partnering with West Point Thoroughbreds on multiple horses, including graded stakes winners Twilight Eclipse, Freedom Child and Justwhistledixie.

“I wouldn’t be able to be in this position without his support,” Migliore said. “We’ve built a strong friendship that goes beyond the racetrack. He’s a young and ambitious owner and a spectacular guy. We need more people like Robert Masiello in this industry.”

Masiello owns the popular turf sprint sensation Fiya [7-5-1-1, $184,396], a $400,000 auction purchase recommended by Migliore. Masiello said his friendship with Migliore has grown stronger since their early days with West Point.

“I got to know Joe at West Point and in the last couple of years as I’ve transitioned into my own stable, and he’s been very helpful,” said Masiello. “Joe has given me ideas of horses to claim and he has just been so helpful over the years. He and Terry still have a great relationship, so they’ll work together at some point in the future I’m sure. He’s very studious, always is asking questions and he’s tried to learn a lot.”

Migliore said he has utilized that studious nature to hone in on his client’s business needs.

“Some owners want fillies to build a potential broodmare band, others want colts and have big dreams of the Triple Crown,” said Migliore. “Price comes into play too, so it’s important to understand people’s budgets.”

Migliore said he plans on being “extremely active” at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearling Sale in August.

“That is one sale I have a big circle around,” Migliore said. “You can find tremendous value there, although the prices are getting a little higher now that people are recognizing that value. For me, I hope to do a lot at that sale and I definitely will make a big push. It’s one of my favorite sales to work. I’m always looking for New York-breds because of the strength of the program, so New York-breds are a priority for me.”

Migliore credited bloodstock agents David Ingordo and Mike Shannon, who scout out young talent for West Point, for helping him learn what to look for in a horse.

“I learned a lot from the two of them,” said Migliore. “You always should learn something new each day in this game. If you aren’t, then you aren’t working hard enough.

“A strong hind leg is something I look at,” Migliore added. “In dirt racing especially, you need a good hind leg. I focus in on a horse with correct conformation and there are other things that come in to play and some things that you’re willing to forgive. We all have different interpretations.”

Migliore also credited not only his father but also his mother, Carmela, who worked as a longtime assistant trainer to Steve DiMauro.

“We talk about horses pretty often as a family and it’s something that we share a bond over,” Migliore said. “I’ve learned so much from them both.”


Mr. Buff earns 97BSF in Stymie win; The Reds puts in final work before potential stakes debut in G3 Gotham

New York-bred stalwart Mr. Buff racked up his 11th career victory against that class when he held off Limonite for a half-length score in the $125,000 Stymie going one mile on Saturday.

Mr. Buff, owned and bred by Chester and Mary Broman, improved to 2-for-2 as a 7-year-old, earning a 97 Beyer Speed Figure that followed his seventh-length Jazil score going 1 1/8 miles on January 23 that netted him a 102 figure.

In his last 15 appearances in listed stakes dating to the 2018 Empire Classic Handicap, Mr. Buff has gone 11-2-2. In that span, he has finished out of the money in all six of his graded stakes starts. But trainer John Kimmel said he’s hoping the blueprint of Mr. Buff’s Jazil win – when he was forwardly placed in second position but not rushed to the front – could be the key to continued success.

In the Stymie, Mr. Buff went to the lead under Manny Franco and saw his 2 ½-length lead three-quarters of a mile in wilt in the stretch before hanging on to hit the wire in 1:36.97 on a sloppy and sealed track.

“This whole concept about this horse not running well in graded races; it all comes down to being used up too early and having him collapse,” Kimmel said. “In the Jazil, he broke and let the speed go on and he picked him up on the backside and it was a comfortable scenario for him. Had he done that yesterday, I think he would have won with a lot more in the tank. To go a half-mile in [45.51] and three three-quarters in [1:09.87] on that track was extremely fast.”

Flanagan Racing’s The Reds could be stepping up in class with the possibility of making his stakes debut in the Grade 3 Gotham. Kimmel said he will consider entering the son of 2014 Belmont Stakes-winner Tonalist to either the Kentucky Derby qualifier or running him in an allowance on the same Aqueduct card, with entries being submitted on Wednesday.

The Reds broke his maiden at fifth asking last out, posting a 3 3/4-length win against a five-horse field going 1 1/8 miles on January 31 at the Big A. On Saturday, he worked four furlongs in 52.18 over the Belmont Park dirt training track.

“The work went a little slower than what we had asked for; my normal exercise rider was sick, so he just put in a maintenance-type work in 52 when we wanted closer to 50, but with all that being said, I don’t think it’ll affect us,” Kimmel said. “We have two choices on the same card at the same distance, so we’ll make the choice by Wednesday.”

The Reds has experience competing at a one-turn mile at the Big A, running fifth on January 8 after a troubled trip.

“The horse is doing fine,” Kimmel said. “I think he was kind of rushed off his feet that day and that’s not his running style. He’s basically a horse who wants to break and get his feet underneath him before you ask him to run. That’s how Kendrick [Carmouche] rode him the next time going a mile and an eighth and he did well doing it that way. So, we’ll see. There aren’t that many options to run once you break your maiden.

“If he runs [in the Gotham], we’ll just have to see how handles the jump in class,” he added.


Capo Kane turning back in distance for G3 Gotham

Bing Cherry Racing and Leonard Liberto’s Capo Kane, a pace-setting third last out in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Withers, turns back to a one-turn mile in Saturday’s Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct.

Trainer Harold Wyner put Capo Kane through a smart training session on February 26 at Parx with the California-bred working behind a pair of horses before circling his company and completing the five-eighths breeze in 1:00.21.

“He worked real well. We had two horses set off in front of him and he sat behind them and got the dirt in his face and passed them. He finished off his work real strong,” said Wyner. “I know there’s going to be a lot of speed in the Gotham and I don’t think he needs to be on the lead.”

Wyner said Capo Kane, who has demonstrated a tendency to drift out during the stretch run, completed his work straight as an arrow.

“In his work the other day, he didn’t drift out one little bit,” said Wyner. “He stayed right where he should be and went around the horses nicely and didn’t drift at all. He’s maturing. He’s a lot bigger and wider now.”

The Street Sense colt picked up 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points on New Year’s Day when taking the one-mile Jerome. He added two additional qualifying points for his Withers effort and currently sits in 11th position in the standings with 12 points.

Wyner said the connections will consider a start in the Kentucky Derby if the $26,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds-In Training sale purchase posts a strong effort on Saturday with 50-20-10-5 qualifying points on the line.

“I still think this horse will get the mile and an eighth and the mile and a quarter,” said Wyner. “If he runs real well in the Gotham, I’m almost forced to try him in the Wood Memorial going a mile and an eighth [on April 6] to see if he’ll get the distance because if he doesn’t there won’t be any point going to the Derby. The timing is close so we’ll have to see how he runs in the Gotham and go from there.”

Capo Kane ran second on debut in October at Parx going seven furlongs and capped his juvenile year with a maiden-breaking 4 1/2-length score on November 25 at the same track stretched out to a mile and 70 yards.

Capo Kane won his first stakes start – and sophomore bow – in gate-to-wire fashion, besting a five-horse Jerome field by 6 1/4 lengths, garnering a personal-best 84 Beyer.

Wyner said Capo Kane will ship to New York on the day of the race with jockey Dylan Davis to retain the mount.


Joseph, Jr. could send either Irish Honor or Awesome Gerry for G3 Gotham; G2 Wood Memorial among options for Collaborate

Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. said Sunday morning that either Irish Honor or stakes-placed Awesome Gerry are possible for Saturday’s Grade 3 Gotham.

Both 3-year-olds worked a half-mile on Sunday morning over a fast main track at Gulfstream Park with Irish Honor completing his four-furlong move in 49.60 seconds and Awesome Gerry stopping the clock in 48.83.

“They both worked this morning and one of them is possible for the Gotham,” Joseph, Jr. said.

Owned by Chuck Zacney’s Cash Is King Racing, LC Racing, Joseph Taylor and John Fanelli, Irish Honor was a recent three-quarter length winner of a seven-furlong allowance event against fellow Florida-breds on January 27 at Gulfstream Park. The son of third-crop sire Honor Code was a first out winner at Parx Racing, where he finished 1 ¾ lengths ahead of subsequent Jerome winner and Gotham aspirant Capo Kane.

“Irish Honor worked well. He went the last quarter in 23 and change so it was a good work. He’s a horse that does what he needs to do,” Joseph, Jr. said.

Awesome Gerry, owned by Cash Is King Racing, LC Racing, John Fanelli, Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch, was a distant seventh to Greatest Honour in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Holy Bull on January 30 at Gulfstream Park. Greatest Honor exited that effort to capture Saturday’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream.

A gray or roan son of third crop sire Liam’s Map, Awesome Gerry won his first two career starts in South Florida before eventually becoming stakes-placed with a second in the seven-furlong Jean Lafitte on November 30 at Delta Downs and was third in the one-mile Mucho Macho Man on January 2 at Gulfstream Park.

“We came into the Holy Bull thinking that we were sitting on a big performance, so it was disappointing,” Joseph, Jr. said. “But obviously Greatest Honour backed up his win with what he did yesterday and Papetu [fourth in the Holy Bull] came back and ran a huge race to be third. The owners are willing to give him another chance.”

Joseph, Jr. enjoyed a productive Saturday at his Gulfstream Park home base with a highly impressive maiden victory from Collaborate, who romped to a 12 ½-length gate-to-wire maiden win at second asking, completing the one-turn mile in 1:36.35 while garnering a 90 Beyer.

Owned by Three Chimneys Farm and e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, the son of Into Mischief out of multiple graded stakes winner Quiet Temper was fifth on debut as the beaten favorite in a six-furlong maiden special weight on a sloppy Gulfstream main track on February 6.

“He was training really well into his debut, so it was disappointing to see him get beat first out,” Joseph, Jr. said. “He just has that confidence with how he does everything. He’s a huge horse and moves so light on his feet. I was happy to see him do what he did yesterday because that’s the horse we think he is.”

Joseph, Jr. said the nine-furlong Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 3 is among several options for the talented bay. The Grade 1, $750,000 Florida Derby on March 27 at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 2, $800,000 Toyota Blue Brass on April 3 at Keeneland also are in play.

“Everyone is on board to take a chance so it could be one of those three races,” Joseph, Jr. said.

Joseph, Jr. said Drain the Clock will most likely go back to one turn races following a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

Owned by Slam Dunk Racing, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables and Michael Nentwig, the son of Maclean’s Music set the pace in his two-turn debut, maintained his advantage in the stretch but was ultimately passed up by Greatest Honour.

“He ran really well, I thought at the three-eighths pole we were a winner,” Joseph, Jr. said. “I was happy with the run, but we’ll most likely cut him back to one turn. Races like the [Grade 2] Pat Day Mile [on May 1 at Churchill Downs] and the [Grade 1] Allen Jerkens [on August 28 at Saratoga Race Course] are where he could end up.”


Daily mandatory payout of Empire 6 to continue in March

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the Empire 6 wager will continue to offer a daily mandatory payout in the month of March at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Featuring a $0.20 bet minimum and 20 percent takeout, the Empire 6 wager requires bettors to select the first-place finisher of the final six races of the card. The full pool, minus takeout, will be distributed to bettors who select the first-place finisher in the greatest number of races on the card.

NYRA established a daily mandatory payout of the Empire 6 for the month of January at Aqueduct as part of a pilot program in response to horseplayer interest in wagers that reward the daily player with the opportunity for impressive payouts.

The daily mandatory payout was extended through February with the pilot project expanded by offering the Empire 6 as a retail-only wager. The pilot project will continue with both caveats throughout the month of March.

Aqueduct will offer 13 racing dates in March with live racing generally conducted Friday through Sunday, with the addition of a special Thursday card on March 25 to make up for weather-related cancellations during the Big A winter meet.

The Empire 6 was launched in August 2019 with a jackpot provision in which the full pool would be paid out only to a single ticket selecting the first-place finisher in all six races, otherwise 75 percent of the day’s net pool would be distributed to those who selected the first-place finisher in the greatest number of races with the remainder added into a jackpot and carried to the next day’s Empire 6.

For more information, please visit NYRABets.com.


Cross Country Pick 5 handles $83K pays $224.50

Saturday’s Cross Country Pick 5, encompassing live racing action from Aqueduct Racetrack and Oaklawn Park, paid $224.50 for selecting all five winners for the 50-cent wager. The sequence’s total pool was $83,080.

Aqueduct started the first of its two total races in the wager when Carem Stables’ Shockolade posted a gate-to-wire score under Trevor McCarthy for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott in a six-furlong state-bred sophomore maiden sprint. The Bayern gelding, bred by SF Bloodstock, returned $7.80 for a $2 win ticket as the second choice in the wagering.

Action shifted to Oaklawn Park for the next two contests, where Godolphin homebred Mystic Guide romped to an impressive six-length score in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Razorback Handicap. With Luis Saez up for trainer Michael Stidham, Mystic Guide rated kindly in the slop before swooping to victory with mutuel favorite Owendale settling for third behind Silver Prospector. The Ghostzapper chestnut paid $6.40.

Ten Broeck Farm’s Kimari splashed to a 4 1/4-length victory in the 5 1/2-furlong Spring Fever as the odds-on favorite returning $3.40. With Joel Rosario up, Kimari stalked four-wide and drew off when asked to a facile score.

Action alternated back to Aqueduct for the penultimate leg with Skyler’s Scramjet utilizing a prominent trip under Manny Franco to score at odds of 4-1 in a seven-furlong claiming sprint for older horses. The Creative Cause gray paid $10.20.

Godolphin homebred Essential Quality, the reigning champion 2-year-old, closed out the sequence with a powerful performance in the Grade 3 Southwest contested at 1 1/16-miles on the sloppy Oaklawn main track. Multiple Grade 1-winner Jackie’s Warrior set a moderate tempo while jockey Luis Saez angled Essential Quality off the rail from the inside post to secure a four-wide stalking position. With Jackie’s Warrior fading after three-quarters in 1:13.59, Essential Quality loomed large into the second turn and was in command at the stretch call before kicking clear to a 4 1/4-length score. The Tapit gray, trained by Brad Cox, returned $3.80 as the mutuel favorite.

The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. Every week will feature a mandatory payout of the net pool.

The Cross Country Pick 5 will continue each Saturday throughout the year. For more information, visit NYRABets.com.


Aqueduct winter meet Week 11 stakes probables

Saturday, March 6

Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham

50-20-10-5 Kentucky Derby qualifier

Probable: Capo Kane (Harold Wyner), Freedom Fighter (Bob Baffert), Highly Motivated (Chad Brown), Wipe The Slate (Doug O’Neill)

Possible: Awesome Gerry (Saffie Joseph, Jr.), Irish Honor (Joseph, Jr.), Smiley Sobotka (Dale Romans), The Reds (John Kimmel), Weyburn (Jimmy Jerkens)

Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool

Probable: Chateau (Rob Atras), Happy Farm (Linda Rice), Pete’s Play Call (Rudy Rodriguez), Share the Ride (Antonio Arriaga), Speed Pass (Baffert), Wendell Fong (Natalia Lynch)

Possible: My Boy Tate (Michelle Nevin)

$250,000 Busher Invitational

50-20-10-5 Kentucky Oaks qualifier

Probable: Laobanonaprayer (Daniel Velazquez), Make Mischief (Jeremiah Englehart), Miss Brazil (Tony Dutrow), Search Results (Chad Brown), Slumber Party (Kelly Breen), The Grass Is Blue (Brown)

Possible: Mo Desserts (Jerkens), Lady Traveler (Dale Romans)

$125,000 Heavenly Prize Invitational

Probable: Needs Supervision (Jeremiah O’Dwyer), Portal Creek (Juan Carlos Guerrero), Thankful (Todd Pletcher)

Possible: Landing Zone (Claudio Gonzalez), Sharp Starr (Horacio DePaz)

Sunday, March 7

$100,000 Biogio’s Rose (NYB)

Probable: Cheatham Hill (Marialice Coffey), Espresso Shot (Jorge Abreu), Firenze Freedom (Breen), Love and Love (Mike Miceli), Wasp (Pletcher)

Possible: Ice Princess (Danny Gargan)