Race of the Week 2017

Golden Moka Faces Six in Discovery

Golden Moka, a Panamanian import who has won four of five starts, will attempt to pick up his second North American stakes victory when he faces six 3-year-olds in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack.


Bred in Ontario, Golden Moka opened his career in Panama with two dominant allowance victories and a half-length triumph in a stakes before he was purchased by an ownership group that includes retired jockey Rene Douglas.


Golden Moka made his North American debut in the Prince of Wales, a race restricted to 3-year-old Canadian-breds, at Fort Erie on July 25, and the colt drew off when roused to take the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown by 2 ¾ lengths.


“He had showed he had plenty of potential in the morning, and it was a matter of him racing to his talent,” said Woodbine-based Brian Lynch, who has trained Golden Moka for Good Friends Stable since the colt’s arrival in North America. “I thought his race in the Prince of Wales was solid, especially as it was his first start going long.”


Golden Moka suffered his first defeat last time out when he finished fifth in the Grade 2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on September 25, but Lynch is hopeful his charge will return to winning ways in the Discovery.


“We tried to take him back in the Super Derby, but he pulled a little bit hard early,” said Lynch. “I think that hampered him because he seems to run better if you let him dictate his pace. We were disappointed with how he ran, but it was a long ship and the form of that race has not been too bad as the winner [Apart] came back to win the [Grade 3] Ack Ack [Handicap] at Churchill [Downs on November 5].”


Golden Moka will leave from the rail under Eusebio Razo, Jr. and 118 pounds as the 5-2 morning-line favorite.


Multiple stakes winner Teaks North enters the Discovery having captured three of his last four races, with two of those victories having come over the turf. His last start was a two-length score on the dirt in Monmouth Park’s Big Brown Stakes on October 30.


“He’s a multi-talented horse,” said Justin Sallusto, who trains the gelding for Jules Boutelle. “He handles dirt and turf equally. Good horses can handle any surface.”


Jose Valdivia will ride Teaks North, installed as the 7-2 second choice and given a 117-pound impost, from post position 3.


Stormy’s Majesty is the third stakes winner in the field, having taken the Albany for New York-breds by a neck at Saratoga on August 25. Second against open company in the Star of Cozzene at Belmont on October 2, the Majesty Stud homebred was most recently last of 10 when facing New York-breds in the Empire Classic at the Big Sandy on October 23.


“He ran very well in the Star of Cozenne as the winner got the jump on him, and he was in a little tight on the turn,” said trainer Dominic Galluscio. “I don’t know what happened in the Empire Classic. He just didn’t come up with his race for some reason, but he’s trained well since then and I’m looking forward to a good effort. He’s going to get back with Edgar Prado, who knows him well.”


Stormy’s Majesty, assigned 117 pounds, drew post 2 and was tabbed at 5-1 on the morning line.


Al Muhtasib needed five starts to break his maiden, but his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, believes the son of Distorted Humor is just now hitting his best stride. In his two most recent starts, both allowance races at Monmouth Park, the Shadwell Stable representative finished second on September 6 and made an outside rally to prevail by a length on October 24.


“We always had high expectations for him, but he’s really come on in his last few starts,” said McLaughlin. “Maybe it’s the extra experience, or maybe it’s the extra distance that’s helped him. He has done well around two turns, and he’s definitely a nice horse.”


Eddie Castro has the call aboard Al Muhtasib. The 5-1 chance drew post 6 and will carry 115 pounds.


West Point Thoroughbreds and Robert Masiello’s Dominant Jeannes has never finished outside the exacta in three career starts, finishing second on debut at Saratoga on August 29, breaking his maiden by three-parts of a length at Belmont on September 26, and missing by a head at Aqueduct on November 7 after setting the pace.


“We’re coming back a little quick off his last race, but it looks like he fits well and will be very competitive,” said trainer Tom Albertrani. “We’re taking a shot as it may be one of the last opportunities to run him against straight 3-year-olds. It will be a good test for him, but we can always fall back on an allowance race on another day. He definitely looks like a two-turn horse.”


Not Abroad seeks a breakthrough victory in the Discovery, having finished second in four stakes, including the restricted Maryland Million Classic at Laurel on October 2 and the Brandywine at Delaware Park on October 30. Nicholas Petro will ride Not Abroad, the 4-1 third choice who was assigned 116 pounds, from post 5 in the Discovery.


Overcommunication, fourth in a Belmont allowance on October 17, completes the field.


The field for the Grade 3, $100,000 Discovery Handicap:








Golden Moka (ON)

E Razo, Jr.


B A Lynch



Stormy's Majesty (NY)

E S Prado


D G Galluscio



Teaks North (FL)

J Valdivia, Jr.


J Sallusto



Overcommunication (KY)

J R Velazquez


T A Pletcher



Not Abroad (MD)

N J Petro


K Ritvo



Al Muhtasib (KY)

E Castro


K P McLaughlin



Dominant Jeannes (KY)

R Maragh


T Albertrani





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