(Trainer Wesley Ward / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)
From the NYRA Media Team:
Parque Patricios Racing Stables’ Mirinaque will attempt to parlay a strong runner-up effort against graded stakes company into his fourth start in North America in Saturday’s $100,000 Queens County for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Argentinian-bred son of Hurricane Cat will make his first start for trainer Wesley Ward, who took over training duties from Maria Munoz.
Mirinaque arrives off a sharp second-place effort at 33-1 odds in the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Marathon on November 6 at Keeneland, where he secured a stalking position along the rail, made a four-wide move around the far turn and briefly took command just inside the eighth-pole.
Mirinaque was unable to fend off Rocketry’s devastating late turn-of-foot, finishing one length back in the 1 5/8-mile route, but still earned black type for the first time in the United States.
A Group 1 winner in his native country when taking the one-mile Polla de Potrillos in September 2019, Mirinaque made his first start in the country on August 22 when fifth to Maximum Security in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar and subsequently shipped to Keeneland for the grade 2 Fayette on October 10, where he finished eighth.
“Maria asked if I could take over the training when she went back to Argentina,” Ward said. “She was stabled in our barn at Keeneland and I got to know her going into the Fayette.”
Ward said that Mirinaque began flourishing in his training when being introduced to some new surroundings and moved to Ward’s barn located right next to Keeneland.
“I have a tobacco barn that’s adjacent to Keeneland. It sits up on the hill where the breeze blows through it,” Ward said. “That’s where all my Royal Ascot horses go; all my horses going to Europe all stable there. Horses that go up there seem to relish it a lot and demolish their feed tub and that’s really what happened to this guy. We look forward to hopefully a good run. He ran well last time.”
Mirinaque recently worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 on December 11 at Keeneland.
“I kept sending word to Maria that the horse was doing better,” Ward said. “He’s stayed in the same stall. He’s had some great breezes and he’s been doing great. He ran wonderful on Breeders’ Cup day and is carrying it into this race.”
Jockey Dylan Davis will ride from post 2.
Multiple stakes-winner Forewarned has attempted victories in some of the most marquee races on the NYRA circuit, but will gain class relief in his next New York endeavor.
Owned by trainer Uriah St. Lewis’ Trin-Brook Stables, Forewarned has earned more than a half-million dollars through a 31-8-4-4 record.
Forewarned was unplaced in last year’s Grade 1 Whitney and Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga, as well as the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, but returned to New York in June with a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont Park.
Forewarned was a distant fifth last out in the listed Richard W. Small on November 28 at Laurel Park and two starts ago was a repeat winner of the 10-furlong Best of Ohio Endurance at Mahoning Valley Race Course.
“He’s training well. I think he has a very good shot,” said St. Lewis. “The biggest thing is that he likes the distance. The mile and an eighth is good for him. He relishes longer distances. This horse likes any kind of surface, so as long as you give him distance. I’m pleased with him.”
Jockey Eric Cancel rides from post 6.
Trainer Orlando Noda will saddle Danny California in attempt of a second stakes triumph. Bred in New York by West Point Thoroughbreds and 3C Thoroughbreds, the 5-year-old chestnut son of Afleet Alex won the Miner’s Mark on September 11 at Belmont Park in his fourth triumph in 11 starts this season.
Danny California arrives at the Queens County off a week’s rest, having run a distant fifth in the Alex M. Robb against his Empire State-bred counterparts.
Breaking from post 1, Danny California will be ridden by jockey Jorge Vargas, Jr.
Completing the field are Empty Tomb [post 3, Manny Franco], Backsideofthemoon [post 4, Jose Lezcano], Musical Heart [post 5, Kendrick Carmouche] and So High [post 7, Andre Worrie].
The Queens County is slated as Race 9 on Aqueduct’s 10-race program, which offers a first post of 11:50 a.m. Eastern.