(Pico d’Oro / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the NYRA Media Team:
Sandin Syndicate Stable’s Pico d’Oro notched a stakes win as a juvenile and will look to capitalize on that experience in his 3-year-old debut when he competes in Sunday’s $100,000 Jimmy Winkfield for sophomores going seven furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The 37th running of the Jimmy Winkfield is named in honor of the last Black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. Winkfield, a Hall of Fame rider, won the Run for the Roses twice, with His Eminence in 1901 and with Alan-a-Dale in 1902. The Winkfield was formerly known as the Best Turn from 1985 to 2004.
Pico d’Oro ran seven times for trainer William Morey as a 2-year-old, with his best two Beyer Speed Figures coming in his last two races, including a 73 for a one-length victory in a six-furlong optional claimer contest on December 18 over Turfway Park’s all-weather track.
The son of Curlin broke his maiden at third asking in his stakes debut, rallying for a two-length score in the Runhappy Juvenile in August at Ellis Park. He ran fifth next out in the Grade 3 Iroquois on Kentucky Derby Day September 5 at Churchill Downs.
Morey dropped Pico d’Oro down in class for his next starts and will now return him to stakes company after four solid breezes at Turfway, including a five-furlong work in 1:01.40 on January 23.
“He’s training great and we’re excited to come up,” Morey said. “He’s improving; he’s a colt that’s bred to get better as he ages, so let’s hope that’s the case. He’s trained well over the Tapeta [synthetic] surface at Turfway.”
The Winkfield’s distance, the same as Pico d’Oro’s Juvenile win, was appealing to Morey, who returned him to sprinting in his last two starts after two races at a mile.
“That’s why we’re coming; it can be hard to find those distances of seven furlongs,” he said. “He’s got a good, steady style about him, which is why I think he likes that distance. He’s got some tactical speed, but he’s got a good, steady finish.”
Pico d’Oro was purchased for $255,000 at the 2020 Ocala Breeders’ March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. He has already compiled a 2-1-0 record with earnings of $102,697. He will be making his New York debut after competing at four different tracks as a juvenile.
“He’s run seven times already and at four different tracks, so for a just-turned 3-year-old, he’s somewhat seasoned,” Morey said.
Kendrick Carmouche, the meet-leading rider and 2018 Winkfield winner aboard A Different Style, will pick up the mount in breaking from the outermost post 6.
“We’re thrilled to get Kendrick to ride; he’s an excellent jockey and it’ll be fun to have my first race with him, so let’s hope we have some luck,” Morey said.
Hello Hot Rod ran second in his debut on October 30 at Laurel and posted wins in back-to-back starts at the same Maryland track, breaking his maiden with a 4 1/4-length victory going seven furlongs on November 13 and registering a 2 1/2-length win at one mile on December 13.
Owned by BTR Racing and Dark Horse Racing, the Mosler colt will be making his first stakes appearance. Trainer Brittany Russell said she’s excited to see the step up in class after a bullet five-furlong work in 1:01.60 on Sunday over Laurel’s main track.
“We considered a couple of different spots for him, but he’s been touting himself and worked really well last week, so we thought the time was now,” Russell said. “Hopefully, he shows up and runs as well as he’s been training.”
Russell said the Winkfield also provides an opportunity for Hello Hot Rod to ship in for a race for the first time.
“You learn a lot about a horse,” said Russell about the shipping experience. “I would expect he can handle it, but you don’t know until you try. It’s better to find out now, because if he wants to be decent moving forward, we’ll have an idea if he can travel or we have to stay home.”
Russell’s husband, jockey Sheldon Russell, rode Hello Hot Rod for the first three races. On Sunday, Trevor McCarthy will be in the irons, drawing post 1.
“Trevor is a good friend of ours and is a Maryland-local rider during the summer, so we have a good relationship with him and it makes us feel good to have him aboard,” Russell said.
Just In Time Racing’s Scotch Rock’s made a pair of strong showings in his first two starts last year, running second in his debut on November 25 at Parx and breaking his maiden next out by edging Ridin With Biden by a neck on December 23 over the same track.
Trainer Harold Wyner said Scotch Rock’s endured a challenging trip in his 2021 debut, when the son of Dialed In ran seventh in the Spectacular Bid on January 16 at Laurel in his first stakes appearance.
“Last out, he got a little bit of trouble coming around the turn,” Wyner said. “He got checked and once that happened it was more or less over. It was just one of those things with racing luck. He got bumped a bit and the race was over then.”
The Manchester, England born conditioner said Scotch Rock’s worked frequently last year with Jerome-winner Capo Kane, who is also trained by Wyner.
“He was working with Capo Kane all the way through to Capo’s first race and he was staying together with him,” Wyner said. “I have high expectations for him. He’s a nice, big horse. He’s probably around 16.3 hands. He’s big boned and a strong individual.”
Katie Davis will ride, departing from post 3.
Rounding out the field are three contenders making their respective stakes debuts, with first-out winner Return the Ring, trained by Edward Barker, looking to go 2-for-2 [post 5, Dylan Davis]; Magnificent Chrome, a son of California Chrome who won on January 17 at the Big A for conditioner Randi Persaud [post 2, Luis Rodriguez Castro]; and the Ontario-bred Weyburn, who won on December 5 at Aqueduct for trainer Jimmy Jerkens [post 4, Jose Lezcano].
The Jimmy Winkfield is carded as Race 8 on Aqueduct’s nine-race program, which offers a first post of 12:20 p.m. Eastern.