'Anything is possible' for Remsen Stakes runner-up Ajaaweed

December 11, 2019 09:55am
'Anything is possible' for Remsen Stakes runner-up Ajaaweed
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Shadwell Stable homebred Ajaaweed exited his runner-up finish in Saturday's Remsen Stakes (G2) “in great shape,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, and is headed this week to join his string at Palm Meadows training center in south Florida.

No decision has been made on Ajaaweed’s next 2020 Kentucky Derby trail start, but McLaughlin said “we’ll take a look at all our options.”

Ajaweed was beaten a diminishing half-length by front-running Shotski in the 1 ?-mile Remsen at Aqueduct, which earned him five qualifying points toward next year’s Derby. The son of Curlin raced near the back of the pack while some four-wide under Joel Rosario through an opening six furlongs in a pedestrian 1:15.19.

Ajaaweed was put under a drive when leaving the second turn and steadily made up ground through the stretch. However, on a track that seemed to favor pace-setting types, Ajaaweed was unable to catch a Shotski. The winning time was 1:52.24.

“It was a funny track that day, and the time was a little slow, not that that really matters,” McLaughlin said. “But we’re happy with him.”

Ajaaweed earned his diploma in start No. 2  when going a flat mile at Belmont Park on Sept. 11. He was wheeled back 24 days later for a try in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland and was never much involved when fourth beaten 11 lengths. 

“We ran him back a little quick in three weeks down at Keenelend. But we were excited to run in Lexington and Joel was already there to ride in the Shadwell Mile,” said McLaughlin, a Lexington, Ky., native. “It was either that or wait. So we shipped down to Kentucky and he just couldn’t handle it at that point. But he was doing much better after that and we knew he would run much better the next time.”

While the next assignment for Ajaaweed remains to be determined, a move to Florida doesn't necessarily mean the colt will race there.

“I’m not sure what we’ll do next. He can go anywhere,” McLaughlin said. “Back to New York, Florida, Hot Springs (Oaklawn Park), Fair Grounds -- there is plenty of opportunity out there, and anything is possible at this point.”

 

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