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A New York State of Racing

Stop 3 on the New York Derby Trail - the (G3) Gotham Stakes

The $400,000 Gotham Stakes (G3) is expected to draw a full field to Aqueduct on Saturday March 3rd. The big purse, with $240,000 going to the first place finisher, should give the winner enough graded stakes earnings to lock up a spot in the Kentucky Derby field.  
 
The Gotham changed to its current distance of a mile and a sixteenth in 2006, before that the race was run at a flat mile. Over the years six champions have won the Gotham: 1953 Native Dancer, 1962 Jaipur, 1967 Dr. Fager, 1973 Secretariat, 1989 Easy Goer, and in 1992 Lure won a dead heat finish.
 
The three greatest Gothams featured four of the greatest horses of all time.  In 1967, Dr. Fager and Damascus met for the first of four times in their careers.  These two champions would split wins in their meetings, but here Dr. Fager would prevail. The legendary Harvey Pack narrates the story of the 1967 Gotham with Dr. Fager v. Damascus.
 
Secretariat made his second start of the 1973 Triple Crown campaign in the Gotham.  The Meadow Stable chestnut defeated a field of six horses setting a stake and track record for the mile in 1:33-2. View Secretariat's 1973 Gotham Stakes.
 
 

Big Red’s record would stand until 1989, when Easy Goer came along and smashed that mark by a full second.  Easy Goer’s time of 1:32-2 stills stands as the Aqueduct track record. Watch the video as Easy Goer Sets the Aqueduct Track Record.
 
 
Five jockeys have won the Gotham three times and they are an elite group of riders: Angel Cordero, Richard Migliore, Mike Smith, Jacinto Vasquez, and Jorge Velasquez.  Shug McGaughey leads the trainers with three wins.
 
Heading the field for this year’s Gotham is the two year-old champion of 2011, Hansen. The near white Pulpit colt enters the race off of his second place finish behind Algorithms in the Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream on Jan 29th.  Owner Dr. Kendall Hansen’s request to run the horse with his tail and mane dyed blue was denied by the NYRA stewards.
 
The rest of the field is likely to include Consortium, who has run behind Algorithms in his last two starts. This Darley colt had a troubled trip on the sloppy track in the Holy Bull and before that got caught at the finish after being on the lead. Dan and Sheila, trained by Todd Pletcher, made a big move from last to fourth in the LeComte (G3) finishing just three lengths off of the winner. Done Talking returns to the races after making a bold move in the 2011 Remsen (G2). He rallied from last to a length defeat, in which he was a head behind the recent Risen Star (G2) winner El Padrino. Dutrow trainee King and Crusader is undefeated on the Aqueduct inner track including the Jan. 16th Jimmy Winkfield Stake. The New Jersey stable of George and Lori Hall will send out My Adonis after a rough trip and a third place finish in the Holy Bull. Tiger Walk finished third in the Withers (G3) behind Alpha on Feb. 4th.
 
The other probable runners that are likely to go off at higher odds include Chief Energy, who is making his first start since having three summer races at Monmouth Park. Cop A Tude makes his stakes debut for Graham Motion after a pair of victories at Laurel Park. Maan came off a seven-month layoff to score a hard-fought optional claiming victory at Gulfstream on Feb. 9th. Pretension won the Sweet Envoy New York-bred stakes last time out. Raconteur has won his last two races over the Aqueduct inner track and is yet another Pletcher trainee. Stealcase comes into the race off a Jan. 19th maiden score at Gulfstream. 

 

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Older Comments about Stop 3 on the New York Derby Trail - the (G3) Gotham Stakes ...

Hansen draws the 12 post out of 13 starters. Tough spot to start from with the tight AQU inner track turns.
I still remember the buzz surrounding Easy Goer's tour-de-force in the Gotham. 1:32 and change ... Not sure they make 'em like that anymore!
  • linda.mitchellbender · I remember it like it was yesterday. Easy goer got all of the hype during the post derby races, Easy goer was beautiful, red and wonderful but Sunday Silence was my champ! Sunday Silence was hard to hold on the ground, black and BAD!!! The press nor the public gave Sunday Silence credit until after he won the Derby and the Preakness. He finally was touted before the Belmont which he lost to Easy Goer. As far as who was the best Horse. I say Sunday Silence-but we will have to ask Japan. He was purchased and stood at stud for Japan and I have not seen any records as to his production stats. · 998 days ago
Shaw - I said that about the Holy Bull. lol
  • linda.mitchellbender · Did u not know that Hansen came down ill after theHholy Bull. He was not himself in the race, stumbled out of the gate and showed no of his true talent. To me it stands to reason that the colt was not on his A-game! · 998 days ago
I'm interested in seeing how Consortium comes back to the races.
Hansen got 8.5F in the BC Juvenile... I'm hoping he can get it here. And how about the great Secretariat!!
I enjoyed hearing Marshall Cassidy call The 'Goer again. He is still my all-time favorite.
Andy; if you drink that crap, you'll only do it once! LOL. I think I have some 25 year old plastic "Big Red Spring" cups somewhere that they used to hand out there.
Mike in SB--On our annual Saratoga trip, a buddy of mine insisted that everytime we entered the track that we had to go to Big Red for good luck. It is tough to drink, but a splash on the face and hands is always good luck. Can't wait to visit the Spa this summer.
  • Mike in SB · Yes I have tried to drink it, I will try the splash on hands and face, I need all the luck I can get. · 999 days ago
UPDATE: Field of 14 is possible for the Gotham, so far there are 13 definites: Hansen, My Adonis, Raconteur, King and Crusader, Pretension, Done Talking, Hardened Wildcat, Maan, Consortium, Tiger Walk, Cop a Tude, Dan and Sheila, and Stealcase.
This looks like a pretty good Gotham, although I don't see any Easy Goers in the race. By the way do you actually drink that water at Saratoga?
Hansen is by Tapit.....Tapit is by Pulpit....just sayin..
Hansen all the way.
I hope he has it in him.
I liked what I saw from Dan and Sheila in the LeComte. I'm going with him in the Gotham; you heard it here first!

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

 

Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

 

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