A talented group of three-year-olds will line up on Saturday at Aqueduct in the $150,000 Discovery (G3) with a field of 11 heading to gate to go 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
The race is one of the last opportunities for three-year-olds to face off before they face their elders. With the Triple Crown race winners Nyquist, Exaggerator and Creator all retired, they have a chance to move up among the top of the division behind the runway leader Arrogate, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in his last outing.
Trainer Chad Brown will send out a pair of contenders in Gift Box (3-1) and My Man Sam (8-1), both coming off losses versus tougher.
Gift Box makes his first start since running a distant fourth in the Travers (G1), beaten 18 ¾ lengths by Arrogate. The ridgling ran third in the Remsen (G2) as a juvenile and ran second in the Curlin behind Connect in July.
My Man Sam rallied for fourth in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) in his last outing. He was eighth in the Travers in his previous start.
The co-feature on Saturday’s card at the Big A is the $200,000 Red Smith Handicap (G3) which drew a field of 11 (and one main track only entrant) who will go 1 3/8 miles on the turf.
Brown will saddle the 8-5 morning line favorite Wake Forest, who was third in the Canadian International (G1) at Woodbine in his last outing.
His main foes figure to be the Graham Motion trained Messi (5-1) who failed to fire in the John Henry Turf (G2) at Santa Anita in his last outing and Danish Dynaformer (5-1), who was sixth in the Canadian International in his last start.
Let’s head out to Aqueduct for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 8 The Discovery G3 (Post time 3:47 ET)
#8 Neolithic 15-1
#3 Gift Box 3-1
#1 Adulator 7-2
#7 My Man Sam 8-1
Analysis: Neolithic had a rough trip last out in his runner up finish against Alw-1 company. The colt tracked the early pace wile down along the inside, got steadied and squeezed back losing momentum, then had to steady a second time, was angled out four wide around the far turn and finished up well for the runner up spot. The racing surface was kind to speed that day. This guy earned a 99 Beyer Speed figure in a runner up finish going seven furlongs at the Spa back in August. The $460,000 Keeneland purchase still appears to have plenty of upside and should be able to handle nine furlongs. He is by Harlan’s Holiday out of the stakes winner Swingit ($343,355). Blinkers go on.
Gift Box makes his first start since his fourth place finish in the Travers (G1). Arrogate romped in that race and came back to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Two others came out of that race to win next out including Connect, who won the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) in his next outing. The Chad Brown trainee was a good second two back in the Curlin and was third in his stakes debut in the Remsen (G2) last November, both of those outings at today’s nine furlongs.
Adulator prompted the early pace and could not get by gate to wire winner Wake Up Malibu, who took advantage of a racing strip that was kind to inside speed. He was 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Keen Ice, who came back to finish third in the Classic in his next outing. The James Jerkens trainee makes his stakes debut here and owns the top last out speed fig.
WIN: #8 to win at 8-1 or better.
EX: 3,8 / 1,3,7,8
TRI: 3,8 / 1,3,7,8 / 1,3,5,7,8