A competitive field of 11 three-year-olds line up in Saturday’s $300,000 Gotham (G3) at one mile with a ticket to the Kentucky Derby (G1) hanging in the balance.
The Gotham is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race with 50-20-10-5 points up for grabs, the winner virtually assuring a spot in the starting gate for the Run for the Roses, now less than two months away.
There are two other Derby points races on tap today—the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs and the $400,000 San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita.
The John Servis trained Mischievous Alex is the 3-1 morning line favorite for the Gotham. The colt is coming off a seven-length victory in the Swale (G3) at Gulfstream Park in his last outing.
If he handles the stretch out to a mile Servis indicated his final Derby prep would come in the $750,000 Wood Memorial (G2) here on April 4.
“If he runs good in the Gotham, we’ll have to try him two turns again to see how he handles it,” Servis said. “I think the Wood would be the most logical spot, but nothing is etched in stone. We have to get by Saturday first.”
Among his foes on Saturday are Jimmy Winkfield winner Montauk Traffic (6-1), the Mark Casse trained Untitled (4-1) who was fourth in the Swale and I am going to give a good look to Necker Island (12-1) at a generous price.
The race will be nationally televised on America’s Day at the Races from 5:30-7:00 ET on FS2 and will also air from 5:30-6:30 ET on MSG+.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday will include the Derby preps and the major graded stakes action from Aqueduct, Tampa Bay Downs and Santa Anita.
Let’s head out to Aqueduct for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 10 The Gotham (G3) Post time 5:42 ET
5 Necker Island 12-1
10 Untitled 4-1
8 Montauk Traffic 6-1
6 Mischievous Alex 3-1
In a competitive renewal of the Gotham this colt looks like he may end up offering some value if he goes off near his 12-1 morning line. The colt showed some ability last fall breaking his maiden in his second career start at seven furlongs and then was a game winner in the slop at a mile beating Alw-1 optional claimers in his first go against winners. The runner up in that race was Silver State, who came back to finish second in the Lecomte (G3) and third in the Risen Star (G2). In his return race last out off a two month break he cut back to seven furlongs in the Swale (G3) where he was sent off at 8-1 in a field of eight. The colt raced near the back of the pack came with a five-wide run around the far turn and weakened in the stretch to finish 11 1/4 lengths behind the winner Mischievous Alex. With the extra ground he may be able to turn the tables and will likely be three times the price as that foe here. The Hough trainee was a $250,000 Keeneland purchase by Hard Spun out of a Mr. Greeley mare. Three of the last eight winners of this race shipped up from Gulfstream Park.
This colt was the pacesetter last out at Tampa Bay Downs against Alw-1 optional claimers going two turns and could not hold off Gouverneur Morris in a runner up finish while 3 ¾ lengths clear of the third-place finisher. The winner is no slouch having run second in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) last fall at Keeneland in his second career start. This colt earned a big number breaking his maiden by 11 lengths and was fourth in the Swale. His last was his first start for the Casse barn that took over from Nicks. A one turn mile looks as if it just may suit this colt.
The Linda Rice trainee stalked the early pace while saving ground and drew clear in the stretch to win the Jimmy Winkfield last out at seven furlongs in his first start against winners. After a lousy debut where he dwelt at the start, he rebounded with a smart looking maiden win in his second career outing. That effort was flattered when the third and fifth place finishers both came back to graduate next out. The colt came back with a bullet work and looks as if he should have no trouble handling his first trip at a mile. He is by Cross Traffic out of the stakes winner Taittinger Rose ($382,503) who was a Grade 3 winner at nine furlongs.
WIN: Necker Island to win at 6-1 or better.
EXACTA: 5,10 / 5,6,8,10
TRIFECTA: 5,10 / 5,6,8,10 / 4,5,6,7,8,10