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Astrology Headlines Jerome

31 October 2010: Garrett Gomez and Astrology take the G3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
A deep field of promising 3-year-olds will come to the crossroads on Saturday when they compete in the 141st edition of the Grade 2, $150,000 Jerome, the featured race on closing day at Aqueduct Racetrack.

 

The Jerome, contested at Belmont Park from 1968-2009, returns to Aqueduct and to The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) stakes schedule after being placed on hiatus in 2010. Previously, the race was held at Aqueduct in 1960 and from 1962-1967.

 

The 2011 edition of the Jerome will be contested at one mile and could serve as a steppingstone to even bigger things for the eight sophomores entered in the one-turn race.

 

The 2-1 morning-line favorite is WinStar Farm homebred Cal Nation, who has made two starts at Gulfstream Park, debuting a 7 ¾-length winner on February 5 and finishing second by a nose to stablemate Dance City in a March 19 allowance, with the winner going on to report home third in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

 

“His second last time was flattered when Dance City ran well in the Arkansas Derby, so he obviously has kept good company,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “He certainly belongs in this field.”

 

John Velazquez will ride Cal Nation from post position 2.

 

Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton’s Astrology, previously under consideration for the Kentucky Derby after finishing second in the Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby on March 27, was shipped to Aqueduct from Churchill Downs earlier this week to run in the Jerome, which could serve as a prep for either the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes.

 

“The Jerome is good timing off his first prep, and it will allow us to not miss all the Classic races,” said Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. “We’re not looking past this race, but we do have those races in mind. It’s more or less a prep.”

 

Astrology has competed over a one-turn mile once, taking the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs in October before concluding his juvenile season with a close second in the 1 1/16-mile, Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club around two turns at Churchill in November. The A.P. Indy colt cuts back in distance for the Jerome, having competed at 1 1/8 miles in the Sunland Derby.

 

“He’s won at a mile before in a one-turn race at Churchill Downs,” said Blasi. “The Jerome should be run in a similar fashion.”

 

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has the call aboard Astrology, the 5-2 morning-line second choice, from post 1.

 

The Asmussen barn will also be represented by Justin Phillip, who was third in Aqueduct’s seven-furlong, Grade 3 Bay Shore after racing in tight quarters on the far turn.

 

“He got into trouble in his last race, and deserves another shot,” said Toby Sheets, trainer Steve Asmussen’s New York assistant.

 

Justin Phillip, owned by Zayat Stables, will leave from post 7 under Ramon Dominguez as the 5-1 co-third choice.

 

The Jerome will be the third start for Adios Charlie, who was sidelined with a tibia stress fracture following his debut, a runner-up effort as the 5-2 favorite in a Belmont Park maiden race in October. The son of Indian Charlie was impressive in his return race, drawing away under a hand ride to graduate by 6 ¾ lengths at Gulfstream on March 30.

 

“I wish I had another race in him, but a mile should be within his range,” said trainer Stan Hough, who owns Adios Charlie in partnership with Robert I. Sahn. “We’ll see how he stacks up against these.”

 

Rajiv Maragh has the call aboard Adios Charlie, installed at 5-1 on the morning line, from post 8.

 

The Jerome has also attracted Rattlesnake Bridge and Gallant Dreams, who on March 12 were second and third, respectively, at Gulfstream in the Timely Writer behind Uncle Mo, who suffered his first career loss when he finished third in the Grade 1 Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial on April 9.

 

Mill House’s Rattlesnake Bridge, a 1 ¼-length maiden victor at Gulfstream on February 12 in his only other start, has been targeting the Jerome following the Timely Writer, according to Artie Magnuson, assistant to trainer McLaughlin.

 

“He has a few options – he’s still eligible for non-winners of two – but if the Jerome works out we have the Preakness,” said Magnuson. “There are a few things still up in the air, but he needs to step up a little bit. He’s a nice colt and this is a good spot to see where he fits. He showed he fit last time when he finished second to Uncle Mo. We’re treating him like a good horse, that’s for sure.”

 

Rattlesnake Bridge, 6-1 on the morning line, drew post 5 and will have the services of Jose Lezcano.

 

Live Oak Plantation’s Gallant Dreams, who will be making his second start of 2011, has competed twice in New York, finishing fourth at Belmont Park in September in a maiden race won by Justin Phillip and breaking his maiden at the Big Sandy in October.

 

Cornelio Velasquez has the assignment aboard Gallant Dreams, 15-1 on the morning line, from post 3.

 

The Jerome field is completed by Isn’t He Perfect and Starship Caesar, respectively fifth and sixth in the Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial.

 

The field for the Grade 2, $150,000 Jerome:

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Astrology (KY)

M E Smith

120

S M Asmussen

5-2

2

Cal Nation (KY)

J R Velazquez

116

T A Pletcher

2-1

3

Gallant Dreams (KY)

C H Velasquez

116

T Albertrani

15-1

4

Isn't He Perfect (KY)

C Hill

116

D Shivmangal

20-1

5

Rattlesnake Bridge (KY)

J Lezcano

116

K P McLaughlin

6-1

6

Starship Caesar (FL)

J Valdivia, Jr.

116

B Parboo

30-1

7

Justin Phillip (KY)

R A Dominguez

116

S M Asmussen

5-1

8

Adios Charlie (FL)

R Maragh

116

S M Hough

5-1

 

 

 

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