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.
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
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
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.
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.