Jockey Rajiv Maragh had his best year yet in 2009 based in
New York for the most part and is off to a fast start this season at Gulfstream
Park where he won three races on Monday’s Presidents’ Day holiday program to
draw into a tie for second in the standings with veteran Javier Castellano,
both two behind leading rider John Velazquez, who leads all jockeys with 29
Maragh, a 24-old native of Jamaica, also is closing in on
the 1,000-career victory mark with 998 wins, but will be out of town Wednesday
at Tampa Bay Downs, principally for the mount on Padua Stable’s Odysseus for
trainer Tom Albertrani in a 1 1/16 miles allowance race that could earn him a
berth in the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G3) on Mar. 13.
Maragh was aboard the chestnut son of Malibu Moon in both
of his previous starts, finishing second in his debut at Aqueduct on Oct. 31
and breaking his maiden going seven furlongs at Gulfstream on Jan. 14. Odysseus
was a $250,000 OBS March 2-year-old purchase.
Trainer Todd Pletcher continues to hold a commanding lead
in his bid for a seventh consecutive Gulfstream meet championship with 17 wins,
10 more than closest rival Ken McPeek second with seven while 11 others are
tied for third at six apiece.
Five more trainers are next with five wins a piece,
including Wayne Catalano, who is closing in on the 2,000 career victory
milestone with 1,997 and three to go. Catalano, whose stable currently is led
by Nancy Mazzoni’s 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and Eclipse
champion She Be Wild, has one runner entered Wednesday at Gulfstream and
another at Hawthorne in Chicago.
Ordination Makes East Coast Debut
in Friday Marathon
Catesby W. Clay’s Irish homebred 5-year-old gelding made
the first two starts of his career as a 3-year-old in England, four starts last
year at Santa Anita, Golden Gate (two) and Arlington Park while based in
Southern California, and resumes his career Friday at Gulfstream Park as the
horse to beat in a ‘two other than’ optional/allowance feature carded for 1 ½
miles on turf.
Jockey Alan Garcia is named to ride Ordination in the field
of 10 as he makes his first start for trainer Christophe Clement. The son of
international champion Fantastic Light finished second in his debut at Yarmouth
and broke his maiden going 12 furlongs at Newbury for trainer Brian Meehan.
Sent last year to California in the care of trainer Eoin
Harty, Ordination won a Golden Gate allowance going 11 furlongs and finished a
respectable fourth behind established marathon stakes performer Spring House in
the Golden Gate Turf (G3). He was obviously not on his game when tiring to last
in the 10-furlong Arlington Handicap (G3) in Chicago
last out on July 11.
Shadwell Stable’s 4-year-old Andhaar will be tested over
the long distance for the first time Friday with Cornelio Velasquez aboard for
trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The son of Awesome Again has run well in each of his
four starts on turf after two tries on the main track last summer, most
recently finishing fifth in an Aqueduct allowance on Nov. 13, but beaten only 1
¾ lengths for it all.
An intriguing prospect in the field is Lewis Pell and
Michael Eigner’s 6-year-old Imawildandcrazyguy with Manoel Cruz in the saddle
for trainer Bill Kaplan and entered for a $62,500 claiming tag. The roan/gray
son of Wild Event is best-known for finishing fourth in the 2007 Kentucky Derby
(G1) behind Street Sense and may have his best chance Friday if the race were
forced off turf.
Completing the field are Augustin Stable’s
Auction Watch, Amaury Piedra’s Adari, Butterfly Stable’s Memorial Maniac,
Charles White’s Silver Mountain, Chiefswood Stable’s Favorite Soup, Rafael
Fernandez’ Primero Peru and Jacks or Better Farm’s Cat’n Fiddle.