Some of the most promising young colts and fillies in the
East will gather at Aqueduct Racetrack Saturday afternoon for the 35th
editions of the Grade 2, $150,000 Nashua
and the Grade 3, $100,000 Tempted for fillies.
In addition to the Nashua, the Tempted, and the Grade 2 Red
Smith on an eight-race live card, the Big A will simulcast Day 2 of the
Breeders’ Cup from Churchill Downs, culminating with the Breeders’ Cup Classic
at 6:45 p.m. Gates open at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, and as always, admission and
general parking are free at Aqueduct.
After To Honor and Serve broke his maiden at Belmont Park
in his second start by an impressive 8 ¾ lengths on October 2, Hall of Fame
trainer Bill Mott and owner Charlotte Weber of Live Oak Plantation considered
sending the son of Bernardini to Kentucky
for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
But looking ahead to next year and even beyond, the colt’s
connections instead elected to skip the trip and keep him at home for
Saturday’s one-mile race.
“It was a lot to ask at this point to take on,” said Mott.
“He may well be as good as any of them. But looking further ahead than just
this weekend, I think he will progress better this way. ”
Runner-up in a large field at Saratoga on September 4 behind
eventual Grade 3 Iroquois winner Astrology, To Honor and Serve came back to
press the early pace before taking over at the three-eighths pole and drawing
clear under a hand-ride from jockey John Velazquez. His time for the 1 1/16
miles was 1:43.34, with his 95 Beyer Speed Figure tying for the third-fastest
among 2-year-olds so far this year.
To Honor and Serve drew the rail in the field of six for
Saturday’s race, and will be ridden by Jose Lezcano.
Economic Summit, who finished fifth in that crowded maiden
race on September 4, also returned a winner in his second start on October 7,
covering the seven furlongs at Belmont Park in 1:23.91 for a one-length win. He
will be ridden by Eddie Castro from post position 5.
I’m Steppin’ It Up and Settle for Medal enter the Nashua off third-and fourth-place finishes in the Grade 1
Champagne behind Uncle Mo, the morning-line favorite for the
Trained by Anthony Pecoraro, I’m Steppin’ It Up is 1-1-2
from five starts, with his only off-the-board appearance coming with a
sixth-place finish in his debut at Delaware
Park in May. Jorge Chavez
rides from post position 6.
Settle for Medal, trained by Mark Hennig, was third to the
Juvenile-bound Boys At Tosconova in his maiden outing, won his second start by
two lengths at Saratoga
on July 31 and ran into Boys At Tosconova again in the Grade 1 Three Chimneys
Hopeful on September 6, finishing fourth. He will be ridden by Joe Bravo from
Rounding out the field are Quality Council, a maiden winner
going 5 ½ furlongs at Belmont Park on September 25, and Mucho Macho Man, a
four-length winner at Monmouth
Park in his third start.
In the Tempted, Doing Great attempts to run her record to
3-for-3 as she faces four others in the one-mile race. Trained by Michael
Trombetta, the Great Notion filly was an easy debut winner at Monmouth Park
on September 11, and returned to post a 10-1 upset of multiple stakes winner
Twelve Pack Shelly in the Maryland Million Lassie.
Under high weight of 121 pounds, Doing Great drew post
position 2 under Julien Pimentel.
Tap for Luck returns for a second try at a graded stakes,
having finished fifth to A Z Warrior in the Grade 1 Frizette on October 9. The
diminutive Tapit filly has worked twice in the interim, covering a half-mile in
49.81 on October 24 and the same distance in 49.46 on October 31, and her
connections are hopeful she will change her luck in the Tempted.
“She did have a little bit of bad racing luck in the
Frizette,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “Both her
works since have been solid.”
David Cohen rides from post position 4.
Trainer Tony Dutrow ships in a pair of out-of-towners for
the Tempted in Pinch Pie, a maiden winner on the turf at Delaware Park, and
Dixie City, who is 2-for-3 including an allowance win at Parx Racing in her
most recent start. Full Moon Blues, a 10 ½-length maiden winner at Laurel, completes the
The field for the Grade 2 Nashua:
The field for the Grade 3 Tempted: