(Sea Foam goes in Friday’s Alex M. Robb Stakes / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)
From the NYRA Media Team:
Ten Strike Racing, Four Corners Racing Stable, Broadview Stables, and Cory Moelis Racing’s Sea Foam will vie for his second stakes win this year in Friday’s $100,000 Alex M. Robb, a nine-furlong test for New York-breds 3-years-old and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
A 6-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro, Sea Foam provided conditioner Michelle Giangiulio with her first win as a trainer when he took down the Evan Shipman at Saratoga Race Course first off the claim on August 11. Leading at every point of call, Sea Foam was a dominant five-length winner in a final time of 1:50.91 for the nine furlongs.
Eighth in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup in his next outing, Sea Foam once again set the pace in the 1½ -mile race, but lost position approaching the turn and faded to the back of the field.
“It was kind of an unfortunate race,” said Giangiulio. “We had a perfect lead and then [eventual winner Magic Michael] moved really early so we had to push him a little sooner than we needed to going a mile and a half. He didn’t have enough in the tank going down the stretch and I kind of put a line through that race for him.”
Sea Foam rebounded from the Greenwood Cup with a third-place finish in the Empire Classic at Belmont last time out on October 30, pushed by Mr. Buff to set a hot pace for the nine furlongs before eventual Grade 1 Cigar Mile winner Americanrevolution overtook the lead and bounded away to an open-length victory.
Sea Foam was nosed out of place-honors by longshot Wild Banker, who he will face again in the Alex M. Robb. Giangiulio said she was proud of the dark bay’s determination to hit the board.
“They went 45 seconds for the half-mile and he was rocking and rolling on the lead there,” Giangiulio said. “I was surprised he even held on for third. I thought he ran a monster race that day getting pushed on the lead and then kept going. I think he ran harder in that race than in the Evan Shipman. I couldn’t have asked for a better run out of him.”
A win with Sea Foam would provide Giangiulio with her fourth victory at Aqueduct this year, her current Big A record standing at 6-3-0-2. In his final prep for the Alex M. Robb, Sea Foam worked five-eighths in 1:02.45 over the dirt training track at Belmont on Friday, showing Giangiulio that he is eager to get back to the races.
“He’s doing great and he’s ready to run,” Giangiulio said. “He needs to get a run in him at this point. He’s very fresh. He’s been working five furlongs, nice and easy, nothing crazy. We just let him do his thing. He loves his job and tries his heart out when he runs. He’s such a cool horse. He’ll be tough to beat on Friday.”
Kendrick Carmouche will pilot Sea Foam from post 4.
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez will have two chances to secure his second Alex M. Robb victory when he sends out stakes winner Tiergan and veteran runner Danny California.
Tiergan enters the Alex M. Robb hoping to continue improving off a career-best 95 Beyer Speed Figure earned last time out when he steps back up to stakes company for the third time this year.
Co-owned by Rodriguez with Michael Imperio and Andrew Gurdon, Tiergan was last seen finishing third in a one-turn mile optional claimer on November 28 at the Big A. The grey gelding was game in defeat, finishing three-quarter lengths behind the winner and losing place honors by just a head with jockey Raul Mena up.
“He ran a very good race and Raul rode him well,” said Rodriguez. “Raul had to be aggressive with him but we are very pleased with the way he ran. It’s why we are taking a chance here in this race.”
Rodriguez said the stretch out in distance will benefit Tiergan, who boasts a record of 4-2-1-0 at nine furlongs.
“The competition is coming up pretty tough, but I think he deserves a chance, especially at a mile and an eighth,” Rodriguez said. “I think that’s what he wants to do. He wants a steady pace and I think he’s going to be competitive.”
Tiergan’s best win to date is an off-the-turf score in the nine-furlong Ashely T. Cole at Belmont in September, battling down to the wire with Three Jokers to win by a head as the biggest price in the field of three. Rodriguez said despite the short field, Tiergan gave a convincing performance.
“It was an encouraging race,” said Rodriguez. “We are always looking for good spots to run as main track only because we don’t have many grass horses, so we got lucky and it worked well for us.”
Tiergan has been a consistent member of Rodriguez’s barn, finishing off the board just once in his nine starts since he was claimed for $16,000 from Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott in January.
“He’s a solid horse. He’s a little aggressive but he’s a beautiful, strong, nice looking horse. If you’re not careful, he’ll bite you with no regard,” Rodriguez said with a laugh.
Tiergan posted a bullet five-furlong work over Belmont’s dirt training track on December 20, breezing in 1:01.80 with Mena up.
“He’s been training very well since we claimed him and we’re happy to have him around,” Rodriguez said. “Raul has been riding him in the mornings and I think he’s a good rider. He’s hungry and he tries. He doesn’t get many opportunities, but I like the way he’s been riding.”
Mena gets the call again from the outermost post 9.
Rodriguez will also send out stakes winning gelding Danny California in search of his second win of the year.
A 6-year-old son of Afleet Alex, Danny California enters the Alex M. Robb as the most seasoned runner in the field of nine with 43 lifetime starts and eight wins. Danny California has a pair of stakes placings and one win from 12 starts this year, his best stakes effort coming in the Commentator when he ran second to runaway winner Bankit in the one-mile test at Belmont in May.
The chestnut gelding was initially trained by Tom Morley for his first 12 starts, dabbling in the claiming ranks before being transferred to the barn of Jorge Abreu for owners West Point Thoroughbreds and Chris Larsen. Claimed by Orlando Noda just five starts later, Danny California began his journey to stakes competition, steadily making progress through allowance conditions for Noda.
With three wins and four on-the-board efforts at the allowance level, Noda decided to give Danny California his first try at stakes company, contesting the Miner’s Mark at Belmont last year. With Manny Franco up, Danny California went wire-to-wire to earn his lone stakes victory by 1 3/4 lengths over graded stakes winner You’re To Blame.
After off-the-board finishes in the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance at Keeneland and in last year’s running of the Alex M. Robb, Danny California moved back to allowance company and was claimed by Rodriguez for $40,000 out of a fourth-place effort in an optional claimer on April 16.
Now owned by Michael Dubb and Karen Murphy, Danny California has earned one win for his connections, scoring an optional claimer at Saratoga on August 7 with a stalking trip under Luis Saez.
Third next time out in the Evan Shipman at Saratoga behind Sea Foam, Danny California was most recently seen finishing seventh in the same optional claimer as Tiergan on November 28.
“I was considering a non-winners of two allowance but I let the owners decide where to go with him,” Rodriguez said. “I think he’ll run well in the stakes. His best distance is a mile and an eighth and they don’t have that many races at that distance for older horses. So, I think this is a good race for him.”
Danny California will break from post 2 with Jose Ortiz aboard.
Eddie F’s Racing’s Chowda will attempt to close out his 4-year-old campaign with his first victory since taking the Gander at Aqueduct last year for trainer Gary Sciacca.
The New York-bred son of Emcee finished fourth behind his full-brother, Lobsta, in the Thunder Rumble division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series last time out on December 5, going seven furlongs for the first time since his 2-year-old season.
Ridden by Eric Cancel in the Thunder Rumble, Chowda was held in third after breaking sixth and tracked behind Lobsta through an opening quarter-mile in 23.10 seconds. Racing two paths from the rail down the backstretch, Chowda briefly caught up to Lobsta rounding the turn and kept to the inside before backtracking and staying on well to finish fourth.
Chowda breezed a half-mile in 49.52 over Belmont Park’s dirt training track on Friday in his last drill for the Alex M. Robb. The dark bay gelding’s best performance this year came in the Genesee Valley Breeders’ at Finger Lakes Racetrack where he was beaten just a half-length going 1 1/16 miles.
Cancel will ride again from post 7.
Completing a salty Alex M. Robb field are three-time winner Kaz’s Beach [post 1, Trevor McCarthy], Grade 2 Remsen winner Brooklyn Strong [post 3, Abner Adorno], Say Florida Sandy winner Our Last Buck [post 5, Manny Franco], Empire Classic runner-up Wild Banker [post 6, Dylan Davis], and multiple stakes winner Captain Bombastic [post 8, Jose Lezcano].
The Alex M. Robb is named for the Executive Secretary of Thoroughbred Racing in 1946 who served as the General Manager of Belmont Park in 1946 and the Director of the Thoroughbred Breeders Service Bureau in 1962. Slated as Race 7 on Friday’s eight race card, post time for the Alex M. Robb will be at 3:36 p.m. Eastern with first post set for 12:50 p.m.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.