The Cathal Lynch trained El Areeb is looking to stay perfect in three trips on the inner track at Aqueduct when he takes on nine foes in the $300,000 Gotham (G3) on Saturday.
The Gotham is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race, with 50-20-10-5 points up for grabs to the top four finishers.
El Areeb has already picked up 20 points which places him in fourth in the point standings, but with the point values going up for the remainder of the Derby preps, the standings with by changing quickly.
The $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday afternoon is also a Derby points race.
El Areeb is the 6-5 morning line favorite for the Gotham and is coming off strong efforts in winning the Jerome (G3) by 11 ¼ lengths and the Withers (G3) by 4 ¼ lengths. Trevor McCarthy gets the leg up again and will break from the four post carrying 123 pounds. He spots the field between three and seven pounds.
El Areeeb Wins Withers
The colt is currently listed at odds of +380 in early Kentucky Derby wagering at US Racing.
Trainer Chad Brown sends out a pair of runners in Apartfromthecrowd (12-1), who was fifth in the Withers in his stakes debut, and Cloud Computing who broke his maiden going six furlongs on the inner track in his debut.
Brown won last year’s Gotham with Shagaf, who came into the race off a victory against first level optional claimers. The two previous winners, Samraat in 2014 and El Kabeir in 2015 used the Withers as a prep.
Since 2010, 10 runners have exited the Gotham to go on and run in the Kentucky Derby, but with little success. The best finish among them was Samraat, who checked in fifth in the Run for the Roses in 2014.
Let’s head out to Aqueduct for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
AQU Race 8 The Gotham G3 (4:50 ET)
#4 El Areeb 6-5
#9 Cloud Computing 5-1
#7 Apartfromthecrowd 12-1
#1 J Boys Echo 8-1
Analysis: El Areeb is perfect in two trips going two turns on the inner track here and won the Jerome (G3) and Withers (G3) by a combined 15 1/2 lengths. The colt has worked sharply with a couple of quick morning drills at Laurel Park and while he catches a tougher group here it is tough to take a stand against him in this spot despite the short price. He was a $240,000 Ocala purchase out of a A.P. Indy mare that has dropped three other winners.
Cloud Computing is one of two in here sent out by the Chad Brown barn. The colt was a smart looking maiden winner in his debut going six furlongs on the inner track. Brown won this race last year with Shagaf who had broken his maiden in his debut here and then won an Alw-1 optional claimer going a one turn mile at Gulfstream Park. This colt was a $210,000 Keeneland purchase and should get better with extra ground. He is by Maclean’s Music out of a stakes placed A.P. Indy mare that has dropped three other winners. The barn is 26% winners moving runners from sprint to route.
Apartfromthecrowd is also sent out by Brown and was fifth beaten 8 1/4 lengths in the Withers behind our top pick. The colt broke his maiden over the inner here going two turns two back by four lengths in a sharp effort. The fact Brown brings him right back here instead of looking for an easier spot bodes well he still has confidence in this colt. He was 7-2 last out and is going to be a much better price here.
WIN: #4 to win at 7-5 or better.
EX: 4,9 / 1,4,7,9
TRI: 4,9 / 1,4,7,9 / 1,4,6,7,9
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