Race of the Week 2017

Trappe Shot Readies for Withers

Mill House’s Trappe Shot will work this weekend for an expected start in the Grade 3, $150,000 Withers on Saturday, April 24, the final graded stakes race at Aqueduct this spring.  Racing returns to beautiful Belmont Park on Friday, April 30, with the Grade 3, $100,000 Westchester carded for opening day. 


“He’ll work a half-mile, probably on Sunday, but we’ll see about the weather,” McLaughlin said.


Trappe Shot had his first tour of the Belmont Park training track on April 11, covering a half-mile in 47.91.  The 3-year-old son of Tapit enters the Withers off of two impressive wins at Gulfstream Park, breaking his maiden in Florida-bred company by 10 ¼ lengths on February 21, then coming back to soundly defeat statebred allowance horses a month later. 


According to Andrew Byrnes, stakes coordinator for The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), also likely for the one-mile Withers are multiple graded stakes winner D’ Funnybone and Remand, third in the Grade 3 Bay Shore in his most recent start, with Fred “Cappy” Capossela winner Castaneda possible.


McLaughlin added that Darley Stable’s Justenuffhumor arrived back at Belmont Park on Wednesday following a winter in Dubai, where he ran for Godolphin and was most recently 15th in the Grade 1 Dubai Duty Free over the Meydan grass course on March 27.


After winning turf allowances at both Aqueduct and Belmont last spring, Justenuffhumor captured a pair of Grade 2 turf contests at Saratoga in the Fourstardave and Bernard Baruch.


Asked about potential plans for the 5-year-old son of Distorted Humor this year, McLaughlin joked:


“The Bernard Baruch? It’s our favorite race.” 


McLaughlin – with Shakis in 2007 and 2008 and Justenuffhumor in 2009 - has trained the last three winners of the Bernard Baruch.  He also trained 2003 winner Trademark.


“We would like to win it again, but for now, he’s arrived in good shape and we’re happy to have him back,” McLaughlin said. 


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Multiple graded stakes winner D’ Funnybone worked six furlongs in 1:13.70 with Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado aboard Friday morning at Aqueduct Racetrack in preparation for next Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Withers at a mile.


The chestnut son of D’Wildcat is 5-1-0 in six starts around one turn, including victories in the Grade 2 Swale and the Grade 2 Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park this year.


“He’ll stay at one turn,” said trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr., Friday morning from Florida. “The plan is the Withers, the seven-eighths race on Belmont Stakes Day [Grade 2 Woody Stephens] and the one at Saratoga [Grade 1 King’s Bishop, August 28]. That would be an unbelievable year.”


D’ Funnybone, who was purchased privately by Paul Pompa, Jr. following a runner-up finish behind Jackson Bend in the Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes at Calder last July, took his first two races in New York, the Grade 2 Saratoga Special and the Grade 2 Futurity, by a combined winning margin of 15 ¼ lengths. After finishing last in the 1 1/16th mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on synthetics to close out his 2-year-old campaign, he launched his sophomore campaign with a one-length victory over A Little Warm in the Hutcheson on February 20 and a 1 ¼ length victory over Ibboyee in the Swale on March 20.


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Trainer Tim Ice, who went 4-for-4 in New York last year (including Summer Bird’s victories in the Belmont Stakes, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup) arrived at Belmont Park Thursday morning with a string of seven horses, including one he is hoping will make the 142nd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 5.


A son of Rock Hard Ten out of Down to Earth, New Madrid finished sixth after running greenly through the stretch and ducking away from the whip in his first stakes effort, the Arkansas Derby. Ice plans an equipment change and is looking for a big effort in an upcoming allowance.


“Hopefully the addition of blinkers will get him to run straight,” said Ice, who trains New Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid) for John Ed Anthony’s Shortleaf Stable. “Obviously, he’ll run all day, and if he runs to our expectations in his next start, we’ll look at the Belmont.”


New Madrid, incidentally, is not named after a city but after the mid-continent seismic zone located in Missouri.


Among the others in the barn are Mr. Hadif, who has four seconds, two thirds and a fourth in seven starts for Ice; Flag Indy, another maiden that Ice recently claimed for $40,000;  Two Perfect, whom Ice trains for Dr. Leonard Blach, one of Mine That Bird’s owners, and Luna Pegasus, an unraced 3-year-old son of Fusaichi Pegasus.


Either New Madrid or Mr. Hadif, said Ice, will be the first to start in New York.


“I’m excited about being back, and I’m looking forward to running,” said Ice.


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The Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes is just six weeks away and the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) is hiring for admission cashiers, parking attendants, cleaning staff, white caps and ushers to work the day of the race, Saturday, June 5.


Interviews for positions will be conducted on April 26 and 27 at Aqueduct Racetrack on the first floor of the Clubhouse from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and on May 8 in the Marquee Tent at Belmont Park from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.


All applicants must bring two valid forms of identification (I-9) appropriate and must be at least 16 years of age with valid working papers.  For more information please email belmontjobs@nyrainc.com or call Human Resources at 718-659-3500. 




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