Samraat stamped himself as
a serious 2014 Kentucky Derby contender as he remained unbeaten with a thrilling victory over Uncle Sigh and In Trouble in the Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct. Samraat had to
overcome a less than perfect trip, a swing in weights, and a very good field of
nine to win his fifth race in a row. In the Gotham, Samraat was carrying the high weight of
123 pounds and was giving seven pounds to the second place finisher Uncle Sigh and three pounds to In Trouble, the show horse.
Going in to the first turn, Samraat was forced wide and continued down the backstretch in the three path
behind the pace setters In Trouble and Uncle Sigh. That left Samraat wide again
going around the final turn. Down that stretch the three of them battled stride
for stride. The drive included some bumping at the top of the stretch that led
to a general steward’s inquiry.
In the end, the stewards
rightfully took no action as all three horses were a bit rough with each other.
Samraat got the win by a neck over Uncle Sigh and he was a neck ahead of In
Trainer Rick Violette talked
about the quality of his horse, “Today you had to be impressed. He was packed
pretty wide in the first turn and he just kept pressing on. This is a real
horse now. We knew we had a shot to be a real horse after the Withers. He’s a
real horse today. This was a good field, a deep field with some really good
horses in here.”
“This was another hard
stretch duel, but Jose never hit him, said Violette. “Today he graduated big
time. The last race was a terrific race. This was a notch above that. He was
wide on both turns. He was pretty impressive today.”
Violette talked about the
seven pound edge that Uncle Sigh had, “The weight really had me worried. We
picked up five pounds and actually Gary’s horse dropped a couple. That’s a big shift and given we had 123.”
the lead and passed Intense Holiday who has 53 points. Samraat has a spot in the Derby field locked up. However Violette
had already been entertaining some Derby thoughts, “I’d be lying to you if I
said we weren’t really thinking about it.
At this stage we didn’t want to do anything to would prevent us from
going to the Derby. A couple of races before the Derby probably toughens him
Samraat heads back to Palm
Meadows Training Center Florida in Florida tomorrow where Violette will get
Samraat ready for the $1,000,000 Wood Memorial on April 5th.