(Weybrun after winning Saturday’s G3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct / Photo by Adam Coglianese & Courtesy of NYRA)
From the NYRA Media Team:
Chiefswood Stables’ Weyburn had plenty of built in excuses to wilt in the stretch when making both his stakes – and 3-year-old— debut on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack. But Weyburn proved his mettle in the longest race of his young career, running eye-to-eye with Crowded Trade in a thrilling duel before edging his rival by a nose to win the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham for sophomores going a one-turn mile as a 46-1 longshot.
Jimmy Jerkens — Weyburn (Winner):
“We thought he would like the distance, ultimately,” said Jerkens, who won his first Gotham. His father, the late Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens, won the 1992 Gotham with Devil His Due. “His last two works were sensational. He went three-quarters in 1:13 and galloped out in 26 and change. I didn’t mean for him to go that fast. But you don’t worry about that when they’re fresh and strong. He was going to have to do something like that to win a race like this. We had to ask him for something in the morning and replicate it in the afternoon.”
Jerkens left open the possibility of running in the nine-furlong Grade 2, $750,0000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 3 where 100-40-20-10 qualifying points will be up for grabs.
“We’ll just take this all in. Of course it’s a logical spot,” Jerkens said. “It’s right here. He’s kind of a quirky horse. The pony man takes him every morning because he’s tough and wants to wheel. He’s still a little kid. He doesn’t trust everybody. This is just really satisfying because it’s been a tough winter and we loved him from day one. He didn’t run first out and we didn’t know what to think. Thank God we stuck to our guns. I think he’ll end up being a decent colt.”
Trevor McCarthy — Weyburn:
“He got into a really good groove down the backside and the pace wasn’t too hot,” McCarthy said. “He’s a big, solid horse and I just wanted to get him rolling early. I did like Bob’s horse [Freedom Fighter] today, so I wanted to put pressure on him, too.
“He switched leads in that last eighth and that made him resurge,” McCarthy added. “He was really aggressive and he had a lot of fight in him.”
Eric Cancel — Crowded Trade (2nd):
“I thought I had it for a second and then I looked over at Trevor and I saw he had a nose in front,” said Crowded Trade rider Eric Cancel. “The horse ran great. Stretching out, I think the last sixteenth got to him a little bit, but other than that, he ran awesome.”
Javier Castellano — Highly Motivated (3rd):
“You have to use him a little bit to put him in position, but I don’t have any complaints today. I’m satisfied with how he ran. Most of the horses today that won have been close to the pace.
“He hasn’t run since four months ago and I didn’t want to squeeze him out of the gate and put him too close to the pace,” continued Castellano. “He finished really well today. Unfortunately, the other horses got the jump and the track is playing to speed a little bit. I like the way he finished coming from behind. He had a lot of dirt in the face and it was a good education for the horse to move forward in the future.”
Rob Landry — Weyburn:
“His half-brother Yorkton was a fighter and Nipigon, his other half-brother, was a real fighter, too,” said Rob Landry, a retired Canadian Hall of Fame rider and general manager for Chiefswood Stables. “He looked like he really dug in hard in the stretch when it counted. He had every reason to give up.”
Although not Triple Crown nominated, Landry said Weyburn will more than likely be supplemented.
“We don’t want to get too excited. We haven’t nominated him to the Triple Crown because we were a little bit behind, but that doesn’t stop us from supplementing him,” said Landry. “If he earns his way there, he’ll get to run there. There’s still a long way to go.”