(Weyburn after his win in the G3 Gotham Stakes on Saturday / Photo by Chelsea Durand & Courtesy of NYRA)
From the NYRA Media Team:
Chiefswood Stables’ Weyburn earned a career-best 95 Beyer Speed Figure for his dramatic nose score over Crowded Trade in Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham, a one-turn mile for sophomores at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Ontario homebred, trained by Jimmy Jerkens and piloted by Trevor McCarthy, exited the gate at 46-1. He bucked those odds and earned 50 qualifying points from his upset score towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 1 at Churchill Downs.
Weyburn made his sophomore debut in the Gotham after a third-out December 5 maiden victory over sloppy and sealed conditions at the Queens County oval.
The dark bay son of multiple champion producer Pioneerof the Nile rated in second from his outside post just a half-length off pacesetter Freedom Fighter, dueled to the inside of Crowded Trade down the lane and got his nose on the wire first to complete the journey in 1:38.70.
Jerkens said Weyburn was in good order on Sunday morning.
“He looked good and sound and it looked like he ate up pretty well,” said Jerkens, whose lone Derby starter Wicked Strong, finished fourth in 2014. “He might be a little subdued and tired, but he’ll bounce back quickly.”
The next and final local qualifying Derby prep is the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 3 at Aqueduct, offering 100-40-20-10 qualifying points.
Jerkens said he was still unsure as to whether or not his newly minted stakes winner would target a two-turn debut in the nine-furlong event.
“We’ll nominate to all of the obvious races, but we don’t know what we’re doing yet,” Jerkens said.
Weyburn is not Triple Crown nominated but Jerkens said he will likely be supplemented for $6,000. Any horse not nominated to the Triple Crown can be made eligible by March 29.
Weyburn is out of the A.P. Indy mare Sunday Affair, who also produced Chiefswood Stables’ homebred and multiple graded stakes winner Yorkton.
Jerkens said multiple graded stakes winner Rocketry will arrive at his Belmont Park stable on Monday from Centennial Farm in Middleburg, Virginia.
The durable 7-year-old son of Hard Spun was last seen ending a nine-race slump when coming from ten lengths off the pace to win the 1 5/8-mile Grade 2 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance on November 6 at Keeneland.
Jerkens said Rocketry will target the 12-furlong Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn on June 4 at Belmont Park. He was a close second to Marconi in the 2019 edition of the Brooklyn.
“The Brooklyn is in the plan, but how we get there I’m not sure,” Jerkens said.
Bred in Kentucky by Gainesway Farm, Rocketry is out of the Smart Strike mare Smart Farming and was purchased by his owners for $450,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Chateau earns 100 BSF in G3 Tom Fool score
Michael Dubb’s Chateau earned a career-best 100 Beyer for his gate-to-wire triumph in his graded stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct.
Trained by Rob Atras, the 6-year-old Flat Out gelding shrugged off pressure from Happy Farm following a swift opening quarter-mile in 22.81 seconds and continued to find more, opening up by 6 ½-lengths at the stretch call for meet-leading rider Kendrick Carmouche. Chateau stayed on strong to the wire for a 3 1/2-length score over a late-closing Wendell Fong, stopping the clock for six furlongs in 1:12.10.
“It was a big effort,” said Atras. “I think that’s the first time I’ve had a horse run that high a number. He came out of the race really good.”
In January, Atras saddled Sanford J. Goldfarb, Irwin Goldfarb and the Estate of Ira Davis’ American Power to a prominent score in the Grade 3 Toboggan, a seven-furlong sprint for older horses at the Big A.
With Saturday’s victory, Atras now has two contenders for the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap, a seven-furlong sprint on the undercard of the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 3 at Aqueduct.
“We’ll probably nominate both and then consider our options,” said Atras. “I don’t know if that’s the spot we want for American Power just yet and I don’t know if Chateau wants to go that far. It’s one of those things where we could have both or we could have none.”
American Power has won his last three starts, beginning with a head score in a claiming mile at Belmont in October. He followed with a 3 ¼-length win in a seven-furlong optional-claiming event in December at the Big A.
The 6-year-old Power Broker chestnut worked a half-mile in 50.21 Sunday on the Belmont dirt training track.
“He put in a more serious work this morning. He went a really nice half-mile by himself in 50 and one,” said Atras. “He’s a horse that appreciates a little more time off between races. He runs hard and he leaves it all out on the track. Sometimes, it takes him a little more time to recover, especially off his last two efforts.”
A memorable Saturday for Atras also saw Nice Guys Stables, Jorge Casal, and Sanford J. Goldfarb’s Not Phar Now notch a half-length score in a seven-furlong allowance sprint for state-breds. The 4-year-old American Pharoah gelding, bred by Chester and Mary Broman, was making his first start for Atras off a $40,000 claim from an impressive 12 1/4-length score in a seven-furlong state-bred maiden claiming event in February.
With Carmouche up, Not Phar Now made every pole a winning one establishing a six-length lead at the stretch call and holding off a late charge from Financialstability. The victory earned a career-best 75 Beyer.
“He’d been training really good. I’m glad it wasn’t seven furlongs and a few steps or we might not have held on,” said Atras, with a laugh. “I love the way he ran the seven furlongs when he broke his maiden and I thought this race was perfect for him. Seven furlongs might be his max looking at the race yesterday, but it is a very tiring track right now.”
On Saturday, Atras will look for more stakes success when he sends out Dennis Narlinger’s Sadie Lady in the $100,000 Correction, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up.
Atras boasts a record of 78-14-15-17 at the Big A winter meet and is tied for third in the trainer standings with Chad Brown heading into Sunday’s card.
On Friday, Atras noted his appreciation for the significant purse increases recently announced for the upcoming 48-day Belmont Park spring/summer meet slated for Thursday, April 22 through Sunday, July 1.
“It’s a good program throughout, from the bottom up,” said Atras. “I have a diverse stable. I have horses that run at the lower levels, in the middle and some at the upper. And that balance changes throughout the year and horses may drop off a notch or climb the ladder, so with the purse increases you can make money throughout the whole claiming program.”
The multiple graded stakes winning conditioner said he is also hoping to take advantage of a “Ship & Win” program for horses based at Oaklawn Park that ship to compete at Aqueduct and Belmont Park.
Horses that made their previous start at Oaklawn may be able to take advantage of the program, which includes a 30 percent purse bonus for their first start for horses who last ran at Oaklawn in 2021 before shipping to New York. NYRA will also provide a $1,500 stipend for a start during either the Aqueduct spring or Belmont spring/summer meets, excluding stakes races, for eligible horses.
“I’ve had a few guys reach out to me looking to claim horses, and I’m also really interested in the Oaklawn program with the incentives,” said Atras. “I’d like to get a few horses out of there with either current clients or new ones. I hope I can pick up a few more horses before the meet starts at Belmont.”
Busy Saturday for Brown brigade; Risk Taking on the work tab
Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown enjoyed a perfect in-the-money performance from four starters on Saturday’s Gotham Day card at the Big A.
Klaravich Stables’ Search Results made a victorious stakes debut in the one-turn mile $250,000 Busher Invitational with stablemate The Grass Is Blue landing third for owner Louis Lazzinnaro.
Search Results was more forwardly placed than she was in her career debut triumph in January at Gulfstream and tracked a length off favored Miss Brazil in second. The dark bay daughter of Flatter dueled with the stubborn pacesetter down the stretch and establishing command inside the sixteenth-pole to win by a half-length, producing an 84 Beyer.
The Grass Is Blue, winner of the last-out Busanda on January 31, rallied belatedly to complete the trifecta.
“Both fillies looked great this morning,” said Brown’s assistant trainer Dan Stupp. “Obviously, Search Results ran a big race. She seems to be one that’s progressing the right way.”
In taking the Busher, Search Results earned 50 qualifying points toward the Grade 1, $1 million Kentucky Oaks on April 30 at Churchill Downs and is currently No. 4 on the leaderboard. The Grass Is Blue earned ten points with her third-place effort, elevating her to No. 9 with a total of 20 points. The daughter of Broken Vow earned ten points when taking the Busanda.
Stupp said Brown had not yet indicated if both fillies would race back in the final local Oaks qualifier, the Grade 2, $250,000 Gazelle on April 3 at nine furlongs with 100-40-20-10 qualifying points on the line.
“I would think one or both would go in that direction,” Stupp said. “We know The Grass Is Blue will go that far. Search Results did just win going a mile so the natural progression would be a mile and an eighth.”
While Brown and Klaravich came out on the winning end in the Busher, the same could not be said for the Grade 3 Gotham where the trainer-owner combo ran a respective second and third with maiden winner Crowded Trade and stakes-winning post-time favorite Highly Motivated.
A son of More Than Ready, Crowded Trade was an impressive off-the-pace winner of his January 28 career debut going six furlongs at Aqueduct and found himself in a more prominent position early on, sitting 1 ½ lengths in third off pacesetter Freedom Fighter, Crowded Trade briefly took command in mid-stretch but was outdueled by 46-1 longshot Weyburn.
“Crowded Trade validated his maiden win and moved forward a lot in his second start,” Stupp said. “He broke better and put himself in the race better. He didn’t quite get the job done so we’re disappointed he didn’t get the win but we’re very pleased with the progression from first start to second start.”
Making his 3-year-old debut, Highly Motivated bobbled slightly at the start and displayed a moderate kick in the stretch, finishing 1 ¾ lengths back in third. The Gotham was his first start since taking the Nyquist on November 6 at Keeneland.
“I thought he ran great off the bench,” Stupp said. “He got in a little trouble in the first quarter mile of the race and finished up nicely. I think he’ll move forward off the race.”
Crowded Trade catapulted himself to ninth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 20 points from his Gotham effort, while Highly Motivated, No. 21, earned ten points.
The next and final local prep for the Grade 1, $3 million Kentucky Derby on May 1 at Churchill Downs is the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 3 going nine furlongs, which offers 100-40-20-10 qualifying points.
Brown already has Grade 3 Withers winner Risk Taking, who worked a half-mile in 49 seconds flat on Saturday morning, pointing to the Wood Memorial.
“He worked great,” Stupp said. “He’s on target for the Wood.”
Miss Brazil exits runner-up Busher effort in good order; unlikely to stretch out in future
Team D and Madaket Stables’ Miss Brazil deftly handled the most challenging race of her young career on Saturday, giving Search Results everything she could handle before being bested in the final sixteenth of a mile in a runner-up effort by a half-length in the $250,000 Busher Invitational going a one-turn mile at Aqueduct.
Trainer Tony Dutrow saw Miss Brazil, who was making just her fourth career start overall, run her first route after three consecutive sprints to start her career, including an impressive 6 1/4-length win in the seven-furlong Ruthless on February 8 at Aqueduct in her stakes debut.
Facing a talented field in the 42nd running of the Busher, which offered 50-20-10-5 qualifying points to the top-four finishers towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, Miss Brazil served as the pacesetter for the six-horse field, leading through an opening-quarter-mile in 24.53 seconds, the half in 49.64 and three-quarters in 1:15.14 over the fast main track.
Miss Brazil, the slight 9-5 favorite under jockey Eric Cancel, dueled Search Results in the stretch, resulting in her fourth in-the-money finish [2-1-1 record]. The Palace Malice filly earned an 84 Beyer for the effort, second only to the 93 she earned for her maiden-breaking win at second asking going 6 1/2 furlongs on November 29 at Aqueduct in her juvenile finale.
“I thought she did her very best and her effort was fantastic,” Dutrow said. “I was impressed with her effort and was happy to see that she could get the mile, around one turn at least. There were so many positives that came with that performance yesterday, so I’m very happy with her.”
Dutrow said the Chad Brown-trained Search Results, who improved to 2-for-2 in her young career, showed great ability. He also said Miss Brazil didn’t show signs of being overly exerted on Sunday morning, but will wait to see how much her career-long effort took out of her.
“I can’t tell right now. She’s quiet today, so in the upcoming days, we’ll see what effect the race had on her, but she’s quiet today,” Dutrow said. “That was a big performance from a second-time starter to win. Miss Brazil is pretty good, so for a second-timer to beat her, that has to be a pretty good filly.”
While impressed with her performance at one mile, Dutrow said he likely will skip the nine-furlong Grade 2, $250,000 Gazelle on April 3, Wood Memorial Day, at Aqueduct.
“I think we’re going to keep her the maximum at a mile. We’re not going to go to the mile and an eighth race,” Dutrow said. “I think six furlongs to a mile, that seems where she’s most effective.”