Owner Mike Repole will be
well-represented in Aqueduct’s graded Triple Crown preps as the native of
Queens plans to send out Stay Thirsty in the Grade 3, $250,000 Gotham at
1 1/16 miles on March 5 and last year’s Champion Two-Year-Old Uncle Mo
in the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial at 1 1/8 miles on April 9.
“I’ve been watching the Gotham and
the Wood for years, and I want to run horses where my friends and family can
come out and cheer,” said Repole, who races under the Repole Stable banner.
The two colts, both currently with
trainer Todd Pletcher’s string at Palm Meadows in Florida, will work in company on Sunday,
according to Repole.
“Todd and I will talk on Sunday or
Monday, but we’re leaning 95 percent in the direction of the Gotham
with Stay Thirsty,” said Repole. “It’s a little bit of a haul, but I love
racing in New York and I like supporting New York racing. Even if
Stay Thirsty wins by 10 lengths, his next race probably won’t be in New York because we plan to have Uncle Mo in
After breaking his maiden by 5 ½
lengths at Saratoga in his second start, Stay Thirsty was second to Boys At
Tosconova in the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful on Labor Day and fifth in
November’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, a race Uncle Mo won by 4 ¼ lengths.
“Stay Thirsty has $110,000 in
graded earnings, so he’ll need to win or finish second or third in his next two
starts,” noted Repole. “The Gotham is a race
that will be competitive, but we expect to be one of the favorites. Ramon
Dominguez will ride him.”
Uncle Mo will most likely prep
for the Wood Memorial in the one-mile Timely Writer at Gulfstream Park
on March 12, Repole said.
On the Gotham
undercard, Repole will have at least two and possibly as many as four starters
in the Grade 3, $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for older
The owner admits running four
horses in a single graded stakes would be unorthodox, but believes the plan
would maximize his chances of leaving Aqueduct in possession of the Tom Fool
“Mike Repole is not a typical
owner,” he said. “It took me a while to win a graded stakes, and now that I’ve
won three I want to keep winning more.”
Repole said that Calibrachoa,
winner of three straight, including the Grade 3 Toboggan on January 22, is
definite for the Tom Fool, with Have You Ever, sixth in a February 11
optional claimer in his first start since being claimed by Repole, probable for
the race. Driven by Solar and Driven by Success, who competed in
separate races on Monday, could also join the field.
“I’ll guarantee that I’m running
two horses and that Calibrachoa is going in the race,” said Repole. “Right now
Have You Ever has the edge [as the second starter], but that’s only because
Driven by Solar [fourth against New York-breds in the Hollie Hughes] and Driven
by Success [fifth in the Grade 2 General George Handicap at Laurel Park] just ran.
We’ll see how they come out of their races. A race like this is wide open, and
I have a lot of bullets.”
Toby’s Corner, winner of the $100,000 1 1/16-mile Whirlaway Stakes at
Aqueduct on February 5, worked an easy five furlongs (1:02.40) at Fair Hill
as he prepares for his expected next start in the Gotham Stakes.
“The work was good, very routine,”
said Graham Motion, who trains the son of Bellamy Road for Dianne Cotter. “I
actually moved it up a bit because of the bad weather, but I had only planned
on giving him one work between races and everything has gone smoothly. He’s
Toby’s Corner looks for his fourth
consecutive victory in the Gotham, having taken a first-level optional claimer
and maiden race at Laurel
prior to the Whirlaway.
“I was a little concerned at the
eighth pole [in the Whirlaway] because it looked for a second like he might
wait on horses, but once Eddie [Castro] got him straightened away he went on
and won kind of comfortably.”