Entering off a pair of respectable second-place finishes on the turf, Godolphin Racing's Bay of Plenty will look to best a field of 6 on the inner track at Aqueduct Racetrack in the $125,000 Queens County for 3-year-olds and at 1 1/8 miles on Saturday.
A 5-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro under the care of trainer Kiaran McLauglin, Bay of Plenty has ran twice this year, picking up second place finishes in optional claiming races on the turf October 19 at Belmont and most recently on November 16 at Aqueduct, in which he lost by a bob at the wire.
No stranger to the Big A's inner track, Bay of Plenty impressively broke his maiden over the surface in 2014, making just his third career start to win by 7 ¼ lengths while picking up a 93 Beyer Speed Figure. He also has made three starts at the distance, earning one win and a second-place finish.
With Jose Ortiz aboard, the pair will depart from post 6.
Godolphin will also enter 4-year-old Watershed. Also trained by McLaughlin, the son of Bernardini, will be looking to make his first start since finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on October 8 at Belmont.
Previously, he ran third on August 27 at Monmouth Park in the Grade 3 Phillip H. Iselin he will leave from post 4 with Kendrick Carmouche in the irons.
Making his last seven starts against graded stakes competition, Dennis Drazin's Sunny Ridge will look to get some class relief in the Queens County in search for his first win since January at Aqueduct in the Grade 3 Withers.
Trained by Jason Servis, the 3-year-old son of Holy Bull is most recently coming off a sixth-place finish on November 12 in the Grade 3 Discovery at the Big A.
Drawing post 3, Manuel Franco will be aboard.
Rounding out the field is Unbridled Juan for trainer Jimmy Jerkens and Stronach Stables who most recently won an optional claiming race on November 11 at Aqueduct, War Story for trainer Mario Serey Jr. and Discreet Lover for Trin-Brook Stables for trainer Uriah St. Lewis.
Two races earlier in the card, Gold for the King will look to build on his first career stakes victory as he headlines a field six in Saturday's New York Stallion series $150,000 Great White Way for state-bred 2-year-olds at six furlongs on the inner dirt track in Race 6.
Trained by Charlton Baker, Gold for the King posted a 1 ¼-length score in the Notebook on November 19 in his debut at the Big A. Owned by Francis Paolangeli, Gold for the King is 3-0-2 in five career starts, including 3-for-3 at the Great White Way distance.
"It seems like he can handle the track pretty good," Baker said. "He's good coming into the race. It might be his last race for this year. It's a good fit for him; he runs good on an off-track but he's better on a dry track, but it seems like he handles this track pretty good."
The bay gelding, who posted a personal-best 89 Beyer Speed Figure last out, drew post 5 with Jose Ortiz set to ride.
"He's pretty consistent," Baker said. "I'm confident about him. We'll give him a break for the winter, but he looks super."
Eddie's Gift, for trainer Michael Ferraro, also registered a career high Beyer Speed Figure in his previous start, notching a 76 in rallying in the Notebook to finish fifth. The chestnut gelding will be making his fifth stakes start, including his best finish with a third-place showing in the New York Breeders' Futurity on October 1 at Finger Lakes. Jockey Dylan Davis will be in the irons in leaving from post 3.
Remstin broke his maiden in an impressive debut on November 27 at Aqueduct and will look to build on his 2 ¼-length victory in taking aim of his first start on the inner dirt. The Sean Shay homebred breezed four furlongs in 48.75 seconds on the Belmont Park training track on Sunday for trainer Gary Contessa. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will be on the call from the rail.
Bavaro also won his debut, capturing a 5 ¼-length victory in a maiden special weight on November 19 at six furlongs. The Gary Sciacca trainee, owned by August Dawn Farm, worked a bullet half-mile in 48.48 seconds on Belmont's training track on Tuesday. Manny Franco will ride from post 2.
Three to Thirteen will make his stakes debut in his fifth career start for trainer Kelly Breen from post 4. Kendrick Carmouche is set to ride.
Ethan Hunt will make his first start for trainer John Toscano, Jr. after being claimed by Calm And Cool Stable on December 1. The runner-up in the Rockville Centre on July 16 also came in third in the Aspirant on September 10 before dropping down in class in his last three starts. Rajiv Maragh will be on the saddle from post 6.
Source: NYRA Communications