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Maleeh Faces Stiff Test in Bay Shore

Unbeaten Maleeh will face his toughest test to date when he takes on graded stakes winners Clearly Now and Honorable Dillon in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Bay Shore on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

 

The Bay Shore, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds, is one of five graded stakes on Saturday’s card, which is topped by the Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial.

 

Maleeh, the 3-1 morning-line second choice, has made two starts to date, winning a pair of six-furlong races on the inner track.

 

In his debut, Maleeh stalked the pace and ran down Bellamy Storm under a confident ride to win by a half-length.

 

Maleeh’s connections immediately bumped him into stakes company, and the colt handled the step up in class with aplomb, leaving from the rail post, patiently waiting behind horses on the turn, angling outside with three sixteenths of a mile to travel, and easily driving past the pacesetters to win the Fred “Cappy” Capossela Stakes by 2 ¾ widening lengths on March 9.

 

“He belongs with this type, we think,” said Art Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “He’s training well, very well. We couldn’t be happier with him. There are some fast horses from Gulfstream [entered in the Bay Shore], but we think we’re right there with them.”

 

Eddie Castro, who rode Maleeh in the Capossela, will have the assignment again in the Bay Shore. Once again, it will be up to Castro to negotiate a good trip from the inside as the Shadwell Stable color-bearer drew post 2.

 

“We’ll just say ‘good luck’ to Eddie,” said Magnuson. “The race looks speedy, but after the last run, we’re not worried about where he’ll be. He was down inside last time and he took all the dirt. Seven furlongs is kind of fun, considering the way he ran last time.”

 

The 5-2 favorite on the morning line is Clearly Now, unbeaten in three sprint starts.

 

Owned by Up Hill Stable, Clearly Now raced exclusively over Woodbine’s Polytrack as a 2-year-old, winning his first two races at six furlongs and tiring to third after setting the pace in the Display Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

 

At 3, Clearly Now was a well-beaten third in the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull in January at Gulfstream Park before he posted a 1 ¾-length victory when turning back to seven furlongs on March 2 in the Grade 3 Swale.

 

“We tried him around two turns in the Holy Bull, and he probably needed the race,” said trainer Brian Lynch. “However, he’s probably most effective at seven furlongs at this stage, so we decided to have him cut back in distance for the Swale. With everyone trying to stretch out right now, we thought the Bay Shore would be a good spot for him. It’s a good series in New York as he could go on to compete in races like the Woody Stephens and King’s Bishop. We’re hoping he’ll take a step forward each time.”

 

Javier Castellano will ride Clearly Now for the first time in the Bay Shore. The tandem will depart from post 8 in the field of nine.

 

“I’d like to see him forwardly placed,” said Lynch. “He has an outside post, so he should be able to get a good position. In a perfect world, he’ll be sitting a couple of lengths off the pace like he did in the Swale.”

 

Honorable Dillon, the 4-1 third choice, finished second in a Gulfstream optional claimer in January, then overtook the leader and held off a late bid from Forty Tales to take the Grade 2 Hutcheson by a half-length on February 2. Stretched out in distance for the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, he never fired and finished seventh, beaten 19 lengths.

 

Joel Rosario takes over on Honorable Dillon, who is trained by Eddie Kenneally for Joseph Bucci. The gray will leave from post 6.

 

The Bay Shore field also includes Capossela third- and fourth-place finishers Clawback and Silver Morgan, as well as Retreive, Salutos Amigos, Declan’s Warrior, and The Truth and K G.

 

 

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