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Breeders' Cup 2017

Cairo Prince, Stonetastic Headline Big A Stakes

alg aqueduct
Photo: New York Daily News
Cairo Prince will face a large, competitive group of 2-year-olds when he makes his first start against winners in the Grade 2, $250,000 Nashua on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack.


The Nashua, one of two graded stakes on the card, will be joined by the Grade 3, $250,000 Tempted for 2-year-old fillies. Both races will be contested at one mile.


In his lone start, Cairo Prince raced just off the early leader in second before claiming the lead approaching the quarter pole and driving clear to a 2 ¾-length victory in a six-furlong maiden special weight on October 6 at Belmont Park.


Cairo Prince, owned by Paul Braverman and Namcook Stables, is by first-crop sire Pioneerof the Nile and out of stakes-winning sprinter Holy Bubbette.


"Nice horse," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin of Cairo Prince, a $250,000 Keeneland September yearling. "This is a big step up from a maiden win, but it seems like we do that all of the time with the young ones. He should get the distance. He's doing well and worked well [on Sunday, breezing four furlongs on Belmont's training track in 48.90 seconds]."


Cairo Prince, the 4-1 second choice on the morning line, will leave from the outside in the field of 12 under Luis Saez.


Like Cairo Prince, Treadway Racing's Noble Moon will stretch out in distance when he makes his second start in the Nashua. Placed on the lead in a six-furlong maiden race on September 14 at Belmont, Noble Moon dictated the pace and dug in to win by three-quarters of a length.


After looking at several options for Noble Moon, trainer Leah Gyarmati opted to enter the Malibu Moon colt in the Nashua.


"The [Grade 1 Foxwoods] Champagne [on October 5 at Belmont] was a little too quick, so the timing wasn't right," said Gyarmati. "We thought about running in [a sprint] stakes, but we want to try him long and see how he does. I think he's bred to go long, and he has the mind to do it. He's shown in the morning he will run all day. Obviously, he needs to improve his numbers, but we're hopeful he will."


Noble Moon, 12-1 on the morning line, will depart from post 6 with Alex Solis aboard.


Trainer Pletcher has entered a pair in both the Nashua and the Tempted. In the Nashua, he will be represented by Intense Holiday and Master Lightning.


Intense Holiday led at every call to break his maiden by 3 ½ lengths in his second start, a one-mile race around two turns in August at Monmouth Park. He enters the Nashua off a fifth, beaten 8 ½ lengths by stablemate Havana, in the one-mile Foxwoods Champagne around one turn at Belmont.


"Intense Holiday just missed fourth in the Champagne, and this will be a little class relief for him," said Pletcher.


Javier Castellano will ride Intense Holiday, 6-1, from post 2.


Alan R. Cook and Larry Pratt's Master Lightning, in contrast, will be stepping up in class off a 1 ¾-length maiden win going 1 1/16 miles on October 5 at Belmont. He has made one other start, a runner-up finish in September at Belmont.


Hall of Famer John Velazquez has the call aboard Master Lightning, who drew post 8 and was installed at 8-1 on the morning line.


The 7-2 morning line favorite is Joseph Bucci's Manhattan Johnnie, who posted a 5 ½-length victory in his only start, a six-furlong maiden special weight contested in the slop on September 21 at Belmont. Trained by Eddie Kenneally, Manhattan Johnnie will leave from post 11 with Jose Lezcano at the helm.


The Nashua field also includes Jose Sea View, winner of the Fitz Dixon, Jr. Memorial Juvenile Stakes on September 26 over Presque Isle Downs' Tapeta surface; recent debut winners Louisiana Flyboy, Awesome Wildcat, and Protonico; Financial Mogul, fourth in the Grade 2 Futurity; Tiznowforamerica, who is returning to dirt after finishing last of 12 in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity; and Grand Arrival, eighth in the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne.


In the Tempted, Stonetastic will attempt to go one better after finishing second as the favorite in her graded stakes debut, the Grade 2 Pocahontas on September 7 at Churchill Downs.


Stonetastic, a daughter of Mizzen Mast, romped by 12 ½ lengths in her first start, a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight at Monmouth Park in August. Trying two turns when stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in the Pocahontas, she stalked the pace before making a three-wide bid, led in midstretch, and was tagged late by Untapable, who prevailed by a half-length.


Although Stonetastic will be competing in a one-turn race in the Tempted, trainer Kelly Breen believes the filly's destiny lies in two-turn events.


"[The Pocahontas] was a good race to try her around two turns, and she did everything but win and came up only a half-length short," said Breen, who conditions Stonetastic for Stoneway Farm. "We're hoping to try her around two turns again, and she has some grass in her pedigree, so we can try that down the road. She posts fast times in her workouts but we've been working on getting her to settle down and rate. We're happy with the way she rated last time, and we're hoping she'll rate again in [in the Tempted]. With the race being one turn, the first quarter-mile might be a little quicker, which could help her rate."


Stonetastic, installed as the 2-1 morning-line second choice, will leave from post 2 with Joe Bravo in the irons.


Mike Repole's Stopchargingmaria, one of two entrants for Pletcher in the Tempted, also brings graded stakes-placed form into the Tempted. After debuting a 5 ½-length winner at Saratoga in July, she finished second by 5 ¾ lengths to Sweet Reason in the Spa's Grade 1 Spinaway in September and third by four lengths in the Grade 1 Frizette on October 5 at Belmont.


Pletcher's second entrant, Potosi's Silver, enters the Tempted off a 6 ¼-length maiden win in a 5 ½-furlong maiden race on September 22 at Belmont. The Starlight Racing color-bearer was previously second to Gracer, also entered in the Tempted, when traveling that distance in August at Saratoga.


"Potosi's Silver seemed to handle her last assignment well so we'll see how she handles the stretch out in distance," said Pletcher. "Stopchargingmaria has run well every time, and this should suit her."


Javier Castellano has the assignment aboard Stopchargingmaria, 9-5, from post 5, while John Velazquez will ride Potosi's Silver, 4-1, from the rail.


Completing the Tempted field are Gracer, third in the Grade 2 Matron; Divided Attention, fourth in the Grade 1 Frizette; and Derek's Girl, winner of a Del Mar maiden claimer.



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