The Argentinian bred Mirinaque makes his first start for trainer Wesley Ward in Saturday’s $100,000 Queen’s County at Aqueduct.
A multiple Group 1 winner in his native Argentina, the colt is 0 for 3 since landing in the U.S., a solid runner up finish last out in the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G2) at Keeneland in his last outing, which was at 1 5/8 miles.
He won four of his nine starts in Argentina for trainer Maria Munox including a pair of Group 1 races.
“Maria asked if I could take over the training when she went back to Argentina,” Ward said. “She was stabled in our barn at Keeneland and I got to know her going into the Fayette.”
“I kept sending word to Maria that the horse was doing better,” Ward added. “He’s stayed in the same stall. He’s had some great breezes and he’s been doing great. He ran wonderful on Breeders’ Cup day and is carrying it into this race.”
Backsideofthemoon is the 8-5 morning line favorite and was a neck ahead of Musical Heart (9-5) when they faced off against Alw-2 optional claimers in the slop here in a race washed off the grass on Nov. 13.
Mirinaque is a more generous 4-1 on the morning line but I suspect with Ward now calling the shots the price may end up a bit lighter.
The feature today at Gulfstream Park is the $100,000 Mr. Prospector (G3) which drew a field of 12 including three that exit the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
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Let’s head out to Aqueduct for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 9 The Queen’s County (3:45 ET)
2 Mirinaque 4-1
5 Musical Heart 9-5
4 Backsideofthemoon 8-5
6 Forewarned 8-1
This colt makes his first start here for the Ward barn and is coming off a solid runner up finish in a 14-horse field in the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G2) going 1 5/8 miles at Keeneland. The colt was beaten double digit lengths in his first two starts in the U.S. facing much tougher. He is a two-time G1 winner in Argentina. He is cutting back to nine furlongs and Ward has had this guy working in company with Four Wheel Drive and figures to show more early zip here for the new barn. The trainer is 30% winners with newcomers to the barn. He won at six and seven furlongs in his native country and won a G1 at a mile.
The Atras trainee was beaten just a neck last out against Alw-2 optional claimers by our third choice in here. They were 5 1/4 lengths clear of the rest of the field. Atras claimed this guy back for $62,500 last out after losing him three back for just $32,000. He earned a career top two back for Donk in a runner up finish in the mud. The gelding won at nine furlongs three back beating $32,000 claimers back in August. The barn is 27% winners first off the claim. He comes in here in the best form of his career.
The 8-5 morning line favorite beat Musical Heart last out which was his first start off the claim by the RRod barn who took him for $62,500 two back out of a runner up finish to Empty Tomb. The gelding ran fourth in this race last year, beaten 1 3/4 lengths. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and has done some of his best running over the Big A main track. I can’t get too excited about backing him for the top spot near his 8-5 morning line.
WIN: Mirinaque to win at 5-2 or better.
EXACTA: 2 / 4,5,6 and 2,5 / 2,4,5