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Aqueduct: Alpha to Breeze Monday

Alpha wins 2012 Count Fleet Stakes.
Assistant trainer Artie Magnuson reported that “everything is great in Barn 11” following Redding Colliery’s victory in the $75,000 Evening Attire, one of a trio of victories on Saturday for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin at Aqueduct Racetrack.

 

“That was really special,” said Magnuson of Redding Colliery, who was making only his second start in 14 months. “I say this all the time, but we’re lucky to have this kind up here, we really are. It looks like the March 17 Excelsior [Grade 3, $150,000] is the next logical step, so we’re going to head that way for now.”

 

Magnuson added that Alpha, winner of the Count Fleet Stakes on January 7, would likely breeze Monday morning in preparation for Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Withers.

 

The 1 1/16-mile Withers is the next step in The New York Racing Association’s (NYRA) series for Classic-minded 3-year-olds, and is followed by the Grade 2, $400,000 Gotham on March 3 and the Grade 1, $1 million Resorts World New York City Casino Wood Memorial on April 7.

 

“The thought is [to run in] all of them,” said Magnuson. “We could skip one if we want, but the thought is to just do all four. The Kentucky Derby is very important, but this series is very important. These aren’t preps, these are important races, so we’re treating them that way. We take the Withers very seriously, and the Gotham. We’ve won a stake and that’s nice, and this is graded, that’s important, everything’s very important. Apha needs to show up, needs to run, but we couldn’t be happier with him now.”

 

At age 2, the son of Bernardini was a six-length maiden winner at Saratoga Race Course, finished second to Union Rags in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park and concluded 2011 with an 11th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile after acting up in the gate.

 

“He stood in the gate today, between two horses, very well,” said Magnuson of the Godolphin Stable color-bearer. “It’s something we will continue to do.”

 

      {Keep up with the latest Kentucky Derby 2012 trail workouts}

 

Among those pointing to Saturday’s Withers is Repole Stable’s How Do I Win, who breezed a half-mile in 49.04 Sunday morning over Belmont Park’s training track. Most recently fourth behind Alpha in the Count Fleet on January 7, the gray son of Corinthian is 2-0-1 from six starts, having close out his 2-year-old campaign with a victory in a maiden claiming race and a starter allowance.

 

“He’s been kind of inconsistent in the afternoons, as you can tell from the past performances, but when he puts everything together I think he’ll live up to expectations,” said trainer Todd Pletcher via telephone. “In his last race, the jockey took too much hold of him, and he’s more of a free-running horse.”

 

Pletcher will be going for his second training victory in the 1 1/16-mile Withers, having won the 2008 edition with another gray, Harlem Rocker.

 

 

 

 

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