A dozen 3-year-olds, headed by Mike Repole’s dual graded stakes
winning Overanalyze and the undefeated Vyjack, were entered for
running of the Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham at Aqueduct Racetrack, a major
prep for the April 6 Wood Memorial and the Kentucky Derby one month
The winner of the 1 1/16-mile Gotham will be awarded 50 points
under the new “Road to the Kentucky Derby” point system, virtually
guaranteeing a berth in the starting
gate for the May 4 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs. The
Gotham will be run as race 10 on Saturday’s 11-race card at
the Big A, which includes the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap and
the Grade 2, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap for fillies and mares.
The favorite’s role among Saturday’s
hopefuls goes to Overanalyze, a son of Dixie Union for whom Repole paid
$380,000 as a yearling. The colt, who will be making his 3-year-old
debut as the 5-2 morning-line favorite, had a solid
juvenile campaign that included a pair of graded stakes wins in
addition to his first-out maiden score at Saratoga Race Course: a
rallying 3 ½-length win in the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park and a
gutsy nose victory over Normandy Invasion in the Grade 2,
1 1/8-mile Remsen on November 24.
Freshened after the Remsen, Overanalyze spent the winter at
trainer Todd Pletcher’s base at Palm Meadows in Florida, where he has
been training steadily, including his
final prep for the Gotham on Monday, a half-mile breeze in 48.75
“I think he had an incredible 2-year-old campaign,” said Repole, whose Stay Thirsty won the 2011
Gotham. “Overanalyze’s two graded
stakes wins were very, very impressive. He showed courage and a big
heart in coming back to win the Remsen, and those are things you can’t
“He’s training really good; Todd told me he’s ready,” added
Repole. “He’s definitely moved up from two to three, and we’ll find out
Saturday where he is. It’s been four
months and we’re excited about getting him here.”
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, aboard for Overanalyze’s
first three races, returns in the irons Saturday as the colt drew post
Second choice at 3-1 on the morning line is Vyjack, a son of
Into Mischief who has won all three of his starts, all at the Big A.
Carrying the colors of Dave Wilkenfeld’s
Pick Six Racing, Vyjack won both of his 2012 races and returned on
January 5 to post a hard-fought head decision over fellow Gotham entrant
Siete de Oros in the Grade 2 Jerome, his first effort around two turns.
“He’s got a lot of talent,” said trainer Rudy Rodriguez of
Vyjack, who will have a new jockey Saturday in Joel Rosario. “But the
competition is going to get tougher,
and he’s going to have to keep stepping up.”
Vyjack, who shares top weight of 123 pounds with Overanalyze, drew post position 8.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has entered a trio of promising sophomores in the
Gotham: Shadwell Stable’s Elnaami, a
four-length maiden winner on January 12 at the Big A, and Darley
Stable’s recent maiden winners Transparent and Now and Then, although
one may await an allowance race on Sunday.
“What we were thinking about is they all have talent,” said
McLaughlin. “They’re all colts who we think can be graded stakes
winners. Elnaawi won easily last time out.
It’s a big step up, but we think he’s a nice horse. It would be nice to
get points and have a chance to run in the
Derby. With the other two, we’re not sure what we’re going to do, but, bottom line, they’re all talented colts with a future.”
Elnaawi, first-time Lasix, drew post position 9 with Channing
Hill aboard at 8-1 on the morning line. Irad Ortiz, Jr. was named to
ride Transparent from post position
5 while Junior Alvarado was named aboard Now and Then, who drew post
position 6, with the entry listed 8-1 on the morning line.
Escapefromreality, 6-1 on the morning line, heads a long list of Grade 3 Withers graduates heading to the
Gotham. Second by just a neck to the
well-regarded Revolutionary, Escapefromreality was followed under the
wire in the Withers by Siete de Oros (3rd), Amerigo Vespucci (4th), and Champion Boy (5th),
all of whom will be returning Saturday.
“I definitely think he’s going to improve,” said owner Anthony
J. Bonomo, who campaigns Escapefromreality with his wife, MaryEllen,
under the MeB Racing Stables banner.
“That was his first time going two turns. It was a shame he got caught
at the wire, but since that race he’s just been getting better and
David Cohen will ride Escapefromreality from post position 2.
Rounding out the field are Mid-Atlantic shipper Ore Pass, winner
of Laurel Park’s Frank Whitely stakes last time out; Sky Captain, most
recently second in a 1 1/8-mile
optional claimer at Gulfstream Park, and New York-bred West Hills
Giant, the New York Breeders’ Futurity winner who was third in the
restricted Java Gold overnight stakes in his sophomore debut.