(King Guillermo / Coady Photography)

From the NYRA Media Team:

Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby-winner King Guillermo, trained by Juan C. Avila for Victoria’s Ranch, is aiming to make his comeback in the Grade 1, $250,000 Cigar Mile for 3-year-olds and up on December 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Victoria’s Ranch is the nom de course of retired baseball player Victor Martinez, a five-time All-Star who finished second in the MVP voting in 2014 when he hit 32 home runs. Martinez played for 18 seasons for a trio of teams – the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers – as a catcher, first baseman and designated hitter.

“We’re going to train towards the Cigar Mile. We’d like to find him a Grade 1 win,” said Avila. “I think the one-turn mile suits him for his first race back.”

The Uncle Mo colt was scratched two days before a scheduled start in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby [won on September 5 by Authentic] after spiking a temperature. King Guillermo returned to the work tab on October 17 at Gulfstream Park breezing a half-mile in 51.78 seconds and fired a bullet half-mile in 46.48 on the Gulfstream main in his third recorded work on November 1.

“It was a very good breeze,” said Avila of the bullet work. “He’s doing perfect.”

King Guillermo, named after Martinez’s father, did not breeze this morning after Tropical Storm Eta brought heavy rain and gusty winds to South Florida.

A $150,000 purchase at the OBS April 2019 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds In Training, King Guillermo graduated last November at second asking on the Gulfstream Park West turf. After finishing third to the victorious Sole Volante in the Pulpit at one-mile on the Gulfstream turf on November 30, 2019, King Guillermo turned the tables on his rival with a 4 3/4-length score at odds of 49-1 in March in the Tampa Bay Derby at 1 1/16-miles on the main track.

King Guillermo exited his prominent Tampa Bay Derby coup to finish a game second to the undefeated multiple graded stakes winner Nadal in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at nine furlongs at Oaklawn Park.

Avila said King Gullermo will ship to New York on November 29.

The Cigar Mile Day card also includes a pair of Grade 2, $150,000 nine-furlong events for juveniles in the Remsen and its filly counterpart, the Demoiselle, as well as the Grade 3, $100,000 Go for Wand Handicap for fillies and mares at one mile.


Eagle Orb looks to take flight in Saturday’s $100K Notebook

E.V. Racing Stable’s Eagle Orb will cut back in distance after running second in the one-mile Sleepy Hollow, as trainer Rudy Rodriguez said he is expecting to saddle the colt in the six-furlong $100,000 Notebook for New York-bred juveniles on Saturday at Aqueduct.

A debut winner on August 21 at Saratoga Race Course, the Orb colt moved up to stakes company at the famous track on September 4 in the Funny Cide, running a competitive second to Thin White Duke, finishing a half-length back in a 6 ½ furlong contest.

After misfiring when fifth in the seven-furlong Bertram F. Bongard on October 2 in his Belmont Park debut, he returned to run second to Brooklyn Strong going a one-turn mile in the Sleepy Hollow on Empire Showcase Day on October 24 over Big Sandy.

After earning a personal-best 84 Beyer Speed Figure last out, Rodriguez said his charge is doing well, though he said he could have run even better in the Sleepy Hollow after setting the pace through the first three-quarters of a mile before being overtaken.

“He looks good so far, we’re just trying to point him to the right spot,” Rodriguez said. “I thought we had it the last time, but the other horse was just a little better than us. He’s still a baby so he’s learning. But that’s racing. Sometimes, they make you look good and sometimes not.”

Rodriguez said Eagle Orb might have three-furlong blowout on Thursday as he prepares for his first start at the Big A.

“I may do a little three-eighths on Thursday, I’m not too sure yet, we’ll just keep an eye on the weather,” Rodriguez said. “We just want to sharpen him up.”

Bred by Barry Ostrager, Eagle Orb was purchased for $95,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale and is out of Lady On Holiday.

Rodriguez has historically enjoyed success at Aqueduct, capturing at least a share of five training titles, starting with the 2016 fall meet. Through the opening two days of the 2020 fall meet, Rodriguez conditioned three winners, tying Todd Pletcher for the top spot.

“It’s good, it’ll keep the owners happy for a couple of days,” Rodriguez said with a laugh.


Clear Vision has eyes set on his sire’s namesake race in $100K Artie Schiller

Cheyenne Stables’ Clear Vision has shown improvement in his last trio of starts and will take things up a notch in Saturday’s $100,000 Artie Schiller over the inner turf at Aqueduct – a race named after his Grade 1-winning sire.

Trained by Jeremiah O’Dwyer, Clear Vision received a six-month layoff after two off-the-board efforts at Fair Grounds Race Course over the winter and emerged off the bench in victorious fashion when besting winners over good ground at Laurel Park.

“He’s a grand horse,” O’Dwyer said. “We took him to Fair Grounds in the winter and did OK, but he didn’t love training over that track. He had a quarter crack that took him a while to get over. We got three races back in him since then and he’s been doing well. We’re just looking for a good spot for him. He’s a tall, leggy horse that’s taken some time for him to mature mentally and physically. I think he’s better as a 4-year-old.”

Following a triumphant return to action, Clear Vision was a distant fifth at Pimlico before winning a second-level allowance event at Laurel Park on October 11.

“The day he got beat at Pimlico the ground was more testing than we would have liked,” O’Dwyer said.

Bred in Kentucky by Candy Meadows, Clear Vision is out of the Invincible Spirit mare Refreshing.

Also from the O’Dwyer barn, last year’s Grade 2 Remsen winner Shotski, who provided the conditioner with his first graded stakes victory, is on the comeback trail and has been working at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, most recently breezing a half-mile in 50 seconds flat over the main track.

O’Dwyer said that he has not yet picked out a spot for the sophomore son of Blame.

“We haven’t looked too far out,” O’Dwyer said. “We’re just getting him going along.”

Shotski has not raced since finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on February 29 at Gulfstream Park. He is owned by a partnership which includes Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Pantofel Stable and Howling Pigeon Farms.

Aqueduct fall meet Week 2 stakes probables

Saturday, November 14

$100,000 Artie Schiller

Probable: Ballagh Rocks (Luis Miranda), Breaking the Rules (Shug McGaughey), Clear Vision (Jeremiah O’Dwyer), Delaware (Chad Brown), Hawkish (Jimmy Toner), Ninety One Assault (Tom Morley), Therapist (Christophe Clement), Valid Point (Chad Brown)

Possible: Chilly In Charge (Miguel Vera)

$100,000 Notebook

Probable: Blue Gator (Mike Maker), Eagle Orb (Rudy Rodriguez), Half Right (Christophe Clement), Horn of Plenty (Rob Atras), Market Alert (Jimmy Ryerson), New York One (James Chapman)

Sunday, November 15

$100,000 Key Cents

Probable: Chasing Cara (Mitchell Friedman), Party At Page’s (Jeremiah Englehart), Rossa Veloce (Ray Handal), Secret Love (John Kimmel), Vacay (Todd Pletcher)

$100,000 Winter Memories

Probable: Crystalle (John Kimmel), Duopoly (Chad Brown), High Opinion (Tony Dutrow), Selflessly (Chad Brown), Speaktomeofsummer (Christophe Clement), Vigilantes Way (Shug McGaughey)

Possible: Caravel (Elizabeth Merryman)