Even Thunder back to site of most recent score in Jimmy Winkfield

February 18, 2017 06:51am
Even Thunder wins at AQU (12-2-16)
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

Leonard C. Green's Even Thunder will get back to the site of his most recent stakes score as he takes on four rivals in the 33rd running of the $100,000 Jimmy Winkfield for 3-year-olds at six furlongs on Monday's special President's Day card at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Even Thunder kicked off his career last summer at Canterbury Park, which included a game, four-length score in the Shakopee Juvenile in September before being privately purchased later that fall. Trained by Joe Orseno, the sophomore son of Even the Score found success in his first start for his new barn at the Big A with a hard-fought victory in the King's Swan in December.

In five starts while sprinting, Even Thunder had notched three wins and a second, leading his connections to take the opportunity to stretch him out in the one-mile Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park January 7, where he was bumped at the start and raced three-wide before fading to ninth.

"When we bought the horse, we bought him with the intentions of running him long," said Orseno. "I had him two months and then I sprinted him and he sprinted so well and won, that we thought we'd bring him down and run him in a one-turn mile, but he really didn't handle it that well. I think some of it was the distance, some of it was the trip he got."

The gray gelding is 2-for-2 at the Winkfield's six-furlong distance, both against stakes company.

"He's still a little immature so we just thought we'd keep him sprinting until he fills out and is ready to go longer," Orseno continued. "Right now, it doesn't look like there's a lot of sprinters around so we may keep him sprinting for a while. I kept him at Gulfstream and we trained him a little bit more and then I shipped him up to my barn in New York about two or three weeks ago to run in this with the intentions of just making him a sprinter right now."

Rajiv Maragh will have the mount aboard Even Thunder, installed at 6-1 on the morning line. The pair are set to break from post 6.

At the other end of the experience spectrum is Sagamore Farm's homebred Shoe Loves Shoe, making his second career start, and first in a stakes, for trainer Horacio DePaz.

A Maryland-bred colt by Friesan Fire, Shoe Loves Shoe led every step of the way en route to a three-quarter-length win in a six-furlong maiden special weight over the inner track in his debut on January 21.

"He was a horse that showed some talent when he came in last year when we got the 2-year-olds," said DePaz, a former assistant to Todd Pletcher who took out his trainer's license in 2015. "He had a minor setback, just typical stuff with 2-year-olds, and we've looked forward to bringing him back and see if he will kind of show what he showed early on."

Set at 3-1 on the morning line, Shoe Loves Shoe has drawn the rail for the Winkfield with Angel Arroyo set to ride.

Budding fan favorite Sal the Turtle will shoot for his third straight win over the Big A's inner track for Bloom Racing Stable and trainer Michelle Nevin. The Caleb's Posse colt, named for Sal Governale of the Howard Stern Show, boasts three wins from four starts, with his only loss coming with a runner-up effort in the Notebook in November. 

In his last start 15 days ago, Sal the Turtle delivered as the even-money favorite, taking an optional claiming race by a geared-down length on February 5.

As the 2-1 second-choice on the morning line, Sal the Turtle picks up the services of leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. and will break from post 3.

Rounding out the field for the Jimmy Winkfield are August Dawn Farm's Bavaro, the 9-5 program choice, who earned a field-high 101 Beyer Speed Figure for his front-running, 3 ¾-length victory in the NYSS Great White Way on December 17 for trainer Gary Sciacca; and Caledonian, who won the Lost in the Fog on January 1 by a game neck for Curragh Stables and trainer John Terranova; and maiden runner Jamminwithbrandon, a $100,000 2-year-in-training purchase for owner Bran Jam Stable and David W. Clark and trainer Louis Linder, Jr.

Source: NYRA Communications


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