From the NYRA Media Team:

  • Where’s Chris chasing Kentucky Derby points in G2 Remsen
  • Copper Tax puts win streak on the line in G2 Remsen
  • Kant Hurry Love looks to regroup in $120K Garland of Roses
  • Aqueduct Racetrack fall meet Week 6 stakes probables

Nice Guys Stables’ Where’s Chris, last out winner of the Nashua here, will look to double up on stakes scores in Saturday’s G2, $250,000 Remsen. The nine-furlong route for juveniles offers 10-5-3-2-1 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.

Trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr., who won the 2008 Kentucky Derby with Big Brown, said he’s not adverse to doing a little Derby dreaming should Where’s Chris impress Saturday.

“I like dreaming as much as anybody. If he runs big, we can keep dreaming. Why not?” said Dutrow, Jr.

The Twirling Candy dark bay outdueled the pacesetting Book’em Danno to post a three-quarter length win in the one-turn mile Nashua on November 5 here. It was another 5 1/2-lengths back to Billal, who also returns in the Remsen for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

Where’s Chris, a $20,000 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase, stalked and pounced to a five-length score on debut in September here in a restricted six-furlong maiden tilt. He followed with an even third-place finish in an off-the-turf edition of the six-furlong Futurity on October 8 at Belmont at the Big A.

“That was a nice, little spot for him and he ran big that day,” said Dutrow, Jr. of the maiden score. “We really don’t know what his best game is because he ran big that day and he ran big last time. Even in his second race, he ran a good race.

“I know we’re trying two turns for the first time – which we’re not afraid of – he’s just doing good, and he’s been doing good for a while now,” continued Dutrow, Jr. “So, we’ll just hope that he’s looking for two turns.”

Where’s Chris is out of the multiple graded stakes-placed turfer Sea Queen, who won the nine-furlong Wonder Again here in 2014 ahead of a runner-up effort in the 10-furlong Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational.

“We seem like we have a lot to look forward to here, especially that we’re seeing he’s showing up on the dirt which we were surprised by,” Dutrow, Jr. said. “So, we can’t wait to try him on the grass one day.”

Isaac Castillo retains the mount from post 8.

Dutrow will send out a pair of contenders in Race 2 Saturday, a seven-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds, in first-time starter El Capi [Post 1, Jose Gomez] and the promising Ignite the Light [post 6, Eric Cancel].

“I like both of them. We’re very happy with both of these horses,” Dutrow, Jr. said.

Jay Em Ess Stable’s Kentucky homebred Ignite the Light has made a pair of starts over the Big A main track, finishing fourth in his September debut sprinting six furlongs ahead of a close third last out when 1 1/2-lengths back of Sierra Leone on November 4 when traveling a one-turn mile. Sierra Leone is entered back in the Remsen.

“He’s a family horse. I love being around him,” Dutrow, Jr. said. “He’s doing good and we’re happy with him. He might be a horse that wants to look for blinkers in the future – I don’t know yet, I don’t like doing that so quickly on horses. We’ll play along with him, but we’re very happy with both of these horses.”

Dutrow, Jr. said Ignite the Light should handle the slight cut back to seven furlongs.

“We don’t know yet what his best game is and I don’t have any problem running him seven-eighths with proper timing, which he has,” Dutrow, Jr. said. “We’re still learning and so is he. So, we’ll just learn together and see what his best game is going to be at the end of the day.”

Ignite the Light, by Into Mischief, is a half-brother to dual Grade 1-winner By the Moon. He is out of the graded stakes-placed Malibu Moon mare By the Light.

P and G Stable’s El Capi, by Maclean’s Music, is out of the Flatter mare Nightlife Baby, who is a half-sister to stakes-placed Eddington’s Note. He has breezed extensively over the Belmont dirt training track, including a five-eighths gate breeze in 1:02 flat Saturday.

“El Capi drew the rail for his first start which we have to deal with, but he’s doing good,” Dutrow, Jr. said. “We’re very happy with him and he’s been doing good for the last month and a half.”

Dutrow, Jr. has enjoyed a successful return to training this year, banking in excess of $5.1 million through a record of 100-21-16-16 led by Grade 1 victories from C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable’s White Abarrio in the Whitney at Saratoga and the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

White Abarrio has stayed on at Santa Anita and is pointing to the Group 1, $20 million Saudi Cup in February at King Abdulaziz Racecourse.

“He’s doing great. I was with him [Wednesday]. He’s happy as can be and so are we,” Dutrow, Jr. said.


Copper Tax puts win streak on the line in G2 Remsen

Rose Petal Stables’ multiple stakes-winning Copper Tax will look to extend his win streak to six when making his graded stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen, a nine-furlong test for juveniles, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Remsen, one of four graded events on the lucrative Grade 2 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets card, offers the top-five finishers 10-5-3-2-1 qualifying points, respectively, towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs.

Copper Tax, a bay son of Copper Bullet, will vie for his third consecutive stakes conquest for trainer Gary Capuano, looking to add to impressive scores in the one-mile Rocky Run in October at Delaware Park and the six-furlong James F. Lewis, III at Laurel Park last out on November 11.

“He’s obviously done everything we’ve asked of him so far,” said Capuano, who looks to notch his first graded win since the 2005 Salvator Mile Handicap with Cherokee’s Boy. “He’s run quite a bit this year which kind of caught me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting him to be ready that early, but he’s pretty seasoned and is coming into the race good. We’re stretching out to the mile and an eighth – which is always a question – against some better horses, so we’ll find out what he’s made of.”

The James F. Lewis saw the talented colt bumped at the start and forced to trail the field in last-of-7, racing farther back than he ever had in his career. Despite the trouble, Copper Tax improved his position at every point of call to find enough late with a move between foes and defeated Inveigled by a neck in a final time of 1:11.30 over the fast main track. The win, which came in his first venture outside of Delaware, garnered a career-best 82 Beyer Speed Figure.

“He didn’t get away and got bumped leaving the gate, so he was far back,” said Capuano. “Turning for home, he didn’t really have any place to go and bulled his way through. He got bumped around there and surged at the end. He showed a lot of guts and a lot of determination. He seems to go with the flow.”

Copper Tax began his career in the waiver maiden claiming ranks and graduated at that level in June, but Capuano said he always showed he could be something special.

“We always knew he had talent, and those maidens weren’t easy, but they weren’t extremely tough,” said Capuano. “He just keeps getting better and trains really nice. He has a great personality and he keeps moving forward, which is a good thing. He’ll get a little break after this race and then we’ll see what happens.”

Copper Tax has made one start beyond sprint distances when taking the one-mile Rocky Run on October 14, acing his first two-turn test with flying colors as he led at each point of call and drew clear to a 6 3/4-length score under Mychel Sanchez. He defeated a field that included impressive maiden winners Thedingoateyobaby and Crazy Mason, the latter of which was a 9 1/2-length winner this summer at Saratoga Race Course.

“We thought there were a few horses in there that they thought pretty high of from the scuttlebutt, but he came out there in good order and just took off and had no issues with the mile anyway,” said Capuano.

While his Rocky Run win came in wire-to-wire fashion, Copper Tax proved with his James F. Lewis score that he can handle adversity and a change in tactics should the need arise as he breaks from post 9-of-10 under Kendrick Carmouche on Saturday [10-1ML].

“There’s enough speed in there and he drew the outside post, so that’s always a question going into the first turn,” said Capuano. “He’s not real quick leaving the gate, but he does have speed if you need it. If he can break in good order, he’ll put himself in the race I think. It just depends on the break if he can get a decent position. Everything depends on the break.”

Copper Tax, who has worked one mile over the Laurel Park main track for his last two breezes, was a $45,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale and is out of the stakes-placed Majestic Warrior mare Wilhelmina.


Kant Hurry Love looks to regroup in $120K Garland of Roses

Ken Wheeler, Jr.’s stakes-winner Kant Hurry Love is on target for a start in the $120,000 Garland of Roses, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, on December 9 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by David Duggan, the 4-year-old Kantharos bay was last seen finishing last-of-4 in the seven-furlong Pumpkin Pie on November 5, an uncharacteristic effort for the filly after hitting the board in 15 of her last 17 starts. She dueled for the early lead with Frank’s Rockette before faltering in the turn and fading down the stretch.

“It is what it is,” said Duggan. “It was just the wrong spot and we’ll move forward.”

Kant Hurry Love will look to cap a stellar campaign that included a win in the state-bred Dancin Renee by a nose over Grannys Connection in June at Belmont Park and a game runner-up effort to that same foe in the Union Avenue Handicap on August 11 at Saratoga Race Course. She has banked over $400,000 through a record of 18-5-6-4.

“She’s a cool filly to be around,” said Duggan. “They’re hard to find.”

Duggan enjoyed a two-win day last Saturday at the Big A, taking a waiver maiden claimer with Borletti and a waiver claimer with Mouly. It was the second time within the month that Duggan posted training double, building on the November 9 card that saw him win a maiden claiming tilt with Classic Diva and a maiden special weight with the debuting New York-bred Walk With Me.

“It was fantastic,” said Duggan. “’Tis our season. We were running November horses in July, so this is the time we can be competitive. If they all stay healthy and sound, they’ll have a good campaign in the wintertime.”

Wizard Stables’ New York-bred Walk With Me, a juvenile daughter of Central Banker, led at each point of call in a six-furlong sprint against fellow state-breds and found enough late to stave off the bid of Call Her Bluff by a head.

“More than likely, we’ll try her sprinting again before stretching her out,” said Duggan. “She’s got a bit of quality to her. She’s OK. Once we see her at seven-eighths or a mile, we’ll see how high she can go. She’s got some class to her. This is her time to shine we’ll see if she can move forward as a 3-year-old.”

Bred by Richard Nicolai, Walk With Me was a $100,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Eastern Fall Yearling Sale and is out of the multiple stakes-placed Posse mare Might Be, a sibling to New York stakes-winners Tiergan and Sheriffa.


Aqueduct Racetrack fall meet Week 6 stakes probables


Saturday, December 9

$120K Garland of Roses

Probable: Disco Ebo (Butch Reid, Jr.), Downtown Mischief (Linda Rice), Headland (George Weaver), Kant Hurry Love (David Duggan), You Look Cold (Bill Mott)

Possible: Olga Isabel (Brad Cox), Quick Munny (Rob Atras), Self Isolation (David Jacobson)