• Miss Sunset (3-1) grinds out the win over Chalon in the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes.Posted 3 hours ago
  • Bonus Points (3-1) swings wide and draws clear to win the Maryland Million Classic.Posted 4 hours ago
  • La Coronel (5-1) leads them all the way in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.Posted 7 days ago
  • Rubilinda (6-5) finds the wire just in time to take the Pebbles Stakes.Posted 7 days ago
  • Engage (1-2) rolls home from last to win the Grade 3 Futurity Stakes.Posted 7 days ago
  • Bolt d'Oro is the 12-1 favorite in the current Las Vegas line for Kentucky Derby 2018.Posted 10 days ago
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  • Flameaway (5-1) wins a three-horse photo finish in the Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at a wet Keeneland.Posted 13 days ago
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2014 Kentucky Derby: Gotham Questions

With a total of 85 Road to the Kentucky Derby points on the line in the Gotham Stakes (G3), there are plenty of questions to answer. A field of 11 is entered to run on the Aqueduct inner track for the third stop on the New York Trail to the Derby.
Speed or Closer?
The Gotham is shaping up to be a classic battle of front running horses and those that like to come off the pace.  Although the most successful running style in the Kentucky Derby is from well off the pace, at Aqueduct it is usually a good idea to be close to the lead.
Samraat and Uncle Sigh renew their rivalry after running first and second all the way around inner track in the Withers. Back in February the two speedy New York-breds beat a field of six by 10 lengths. In the Gotham Deceived, Extrasexyhippzter, and Master Lightning like to run on or near the lead.
Coming from off the pace will be Harpoon, who ran a very big race to finish a nose behind the winner in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay. The undefeated In Trouble has won both of his races from a stalking position, including a victory in the Futurity (G2) at Belmont Park. In Trouble will be making his 2014 debut in the Gotham and trainer Tony Dutrow says he is ready, "He's excellent. He's really, really happy. I feel the horse is ready to give us what he's got Saturday."
Financial Mogul, Noble Cornerstone, Classic Giacnroll, and Monopolize have also shown a liking to run behind the early pacesetters.
If you want to get a better picture of the running styles of the main contenders, here are video links to their last performances.
Home Track Advantage?
Seven of the 11 starters have already run on the Aqueduct inner track and six of them have at least one win there. Four of the horses are New York-breds including the 5-2 morning line favored coupled entry of Samraat and Noble Cornerstone, who share the owner and breeder [My Meadowview Farm] and sire [Noble Causeway]. The rest of the field consists of two Pennsylvania-breds and five from the farms in Kentucky.
Pletcher or Not?
The always dangerous Todd Pletcher has three horses entered in the Gotham that have unusually high odds for the six-time Eclipse award winning trainer. Harpoon is, what seems like an unrealistic, 10-1 on the morning line and runs for the Let’s Go Stable of Verrazano fame. Master Lightning is listed at 20-1 and has been training here in New York over the winter. Monopolize is a $500,000 yearling who runs for the Repole Stable. There has been mention that he may be scratched for a different spot.
Here is Pletcher’s take on his contenders, "Normally I wouldn't like the outside draw [for Harpoon] but after his last race from post position 1, I would say it's a good post position for him. We're hoping Master Lightning shows up with his 'A' game. He's shown in the past he's capable but he's been a bit erratic. This would be a good time for him to show up."
Can They Do It Again?

In the end the biggest question for the Gotham is whether Samraat and Uncle Sigh can repeat their performances from the Withers? With a field of 10 or 11, it would seem unlikely. There is value with Harpoon, Extrasexyhippzter, and Financial Mogul, but are they ready to step up and win a graded stake? Also, can In Trouble win this tough a race after the long layoff? 



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Older Comments about 2014 Kentucky Derby: Gotham Questions...

race 7 the #1
lIKE R1-#3 / r3 #2 / R6 #1 / R& #1 / Love Havana. All are GP. Will make my 2 big bets on R3 and Havana. Did not lok at The Battaglia. On my way to the Big A. Good Luck.
great analogy tmallios(good morning) hey tom tell me who u like in the Battaglia memorial at Turfway today plz LOL
Maryland,you make an excellent point regarding weight. But i do not know what gamblers you are talking about. The serious players i know,take this matter very seriously.The accepted scale along the years has been that 5 lbs= 1 length in a race of a mile or over.Therefore Uncle Sigh and even Cornerstone are getting basically 1 1/2 lengths from Samraat before the open the gates to race. With the sprinter on the rail,Samraat figures to get a wide trip.Uncle Sigh should be tucked inside in a tracking position. Therefore with ground loss,Samraat will probably have to be at least 2 lengths better than him to beat him. One of the reasons i love his entrymate better. He to is getting the same weight allowance. I am hoping that Samraat forces a very fast pace in here. But weight is very important to the serious palyer. It is paramount to a trainer.
In Trouble, Uncle Sigh, Classic Giacnroll.
Why is WEIGHT CARRIED so often ignored by the betting public?! As a reward for beating Uncle Sigh by a length in the Withers, Samraat cariies 5 lbs. more than most of his foes in here. Long ago, a trainer once told me, "5 lbs. on a horse going long would stop a train."
the reason I'm liking Harpoon is because a strong finish in his last start and PEDIGREE...
I'll be stunned if Harpoon goes off anywhere close to 10-1. The post isn't great, but his last race was quite good, he'll have plenty of pace to run at, and he's getting seven pounds from the highweights.
I'm expecting Tony Dutrow to have In Trouble ready to roll on Saturday.

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

• Preakness Interview with Trainer Todd Pletcher

• Kentucky Derby 2016 Handicapping Tips from A to Z


• Edison: the Travels of a Million Dollar Colt 

• A Kentucky Derby Field with Just 14 Horses

• What is the Best Kentucky Derby Running Style?



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