Race of the Week 2017

Gotham Attracts Ten

Peppi Knows takes the 2010 Whirlaway at Aqueduct

A diverse field of ten 3-year-olds, ranging from a recent maiden winner to the first three finishers in the Whirlaway to an English colt who last ran in the Breeders’ Cup, look to take the next step in their careers Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack in the 58th running of the Grade 3, $250,000 Gotham at 1 1/16th miles.


A traditional prep for the April 3 Wood Memorial, New York’s Grade 1 stepping-stone to the Triple Crown, the Gotham will be run as the  10th of 11 races on a card that also includes the 117th running of the Grade 3 Toboggan for sprinters 3-years-old and up and the 109th running of the Fred “Cappy” Capossela for sophomore sprinters, as the graded stakes season gets underway.

The card also features a $250,000 Guaranteed Late Pick Four comprising races 8-11.


Owner of the best Beyer Speed Figure in the Gotham, I’ve Got the Fever has already tangled with some of trainer Todd Pletcher’s myriad of Triple Crown candidates. As a 2-year-old, he finished fourth behind Aikenite in his debut, fourth to Super Saver in his second start and third behind Rule in his next outing, finally breaking his maiden on February 20 at the Big A with a front-running victory in career start No. 5, earning a 90 Beyer.


 “I had been looking at the Gotham for him, but he was supposed to break his maiden about two weeks earlier than he did.  He was entered a couple of times but it just didn’t work out,” said trainer John Terranova of the IEAH Stables colt, who is 12-1 on the morning line. “He's really matured since his 2-year-old season, though, and he ran into some quality colts as a juvenile, so he's got some back class there.


“I think he has a lot of quality and I hope he's ready to show it,” he added of the Stephen Got Even colt, who will be ridden from post No. 2 by Channing Hill. “Any of these colts can step up and get good as they mature."   


Pletcher, who had 11 nominated to the Gotham, finally settled on Three Day Rush, a Harlan’s Holiday colt who has been off the board just once in seven career starts and most recently finished third in the Whirlaway on February 6 after being carried wide on the first turn.


“We wanted to give him one more try around two turns,” said Pletcher of Three Day Rush, who is owned by Starlight Partners. “He ran well after having trouble in the Whirlaway.”


Three Day Rush, 4-1 on the morning line, drew the rail and will be ridden by Fernando Jara.

Also returning from the Whirlaway are winner Peppi Knows and runner-up Afleet Again, who drew post Nos. 6 and 9, respectively.


Peppi Knows, a gelded son of Stephen Got Even, closed out his juvenile campaign with a second to Buddy’s Saint in the Grade 2 Remsen, and then made his 3-year-old debut a winning one to run his record to a solid 4-1-1 from six starts. At 10-1 on the morning line, he will again get the services of Richard Migliore while Afleet Again, who rallied to finish just a length behind Peppi Knows at odds of 21-1, will be ridden by Kendrick Carmouche.


Coming in from across the pond is Awesome Act, making his first start since finishing a closing fourth to Pounced in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on November 7. The Awesome Again colt has spent most of his career on the grass in England, breaking his maiden at Goodwood on October 1 after having finished third over an artificial surface in his previous start.


Owned by Mrs. Susan Roy, trained by Jeremy Noseda, and ridden by 2009 Eclipse Award winning jockey Julien Leparoux, Awesome Act was made the 7-2 morning-line favorite in the Gotham and will break from post No. 4.


Also traveling to Aqueduct is Nacho Friend, who comes in from Florida, where he has been training steadily for his first start since a fourth-place effort in the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga Race Course last July. Owned by George and Lori Hall, the Friends Lake colt, 8-1 on the morning line, breaks from post No. 3 with Joe Bravo up.


Putting a 2-0 mark on the line in the Gotham is Yawanna Twist, a Yonaguska colt who has thumped his New York-bred rivals by a combined margin of nearly 10 lengths.


“We’re looking for him to go around two turns,” said trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr. of Yawanna Twist, who is owned by Steel Your Face Stables. “He’s a nice little horse, he’s a runner, and things just might work out for him. Everyone is very excited about running him and he drew well. We like our chances.”

Yawanna Twist, 5-1 on the morning line, will break from post No. 2 under Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado.


Shrimp Dancer’s future may be on the grass, but trainer David Donk and owner William Bloom feel there is little downside to taking a shot in the Gotham.


“I believe it’s a pretty open race,” said Donk, who has saddled Shrimp Dancer to a 1-2-3 mark from seven starts, with his lone victory coming on the turf at Belmont Park. “I know he didn’t win his last two at a short price, but they were good races [second in both on the inner track]. I know he has a pretty decent future, and if he does well, we have a lot of options. If not, we can pop him back on the grass.”


Shrimp Dancer, 12-1 on the morning line, drew post No. 7 and will be ridden by C.C. Lopez.


Rounding out the field are Turf Melody, most recently sixth to Ron the Greek in the Grade 3 LeComte at the Fair Grounds, and Marylou Whitney’s Wow Wow Wow, recent winner of an allowance at Oaklawn Park.

The field for the Grade 3, $250,000 Gotham:






Three Day Rush (KY)

F Jara


T A Pletcher



Yawanna Twist (NY)

E S Prado


R E Dutrow, Jr.



Nacho Friend (KY)

J Bravo


K J Breen



Awesome Act (KY)

J R Leparoux


J Noseda



I've Got the Fever (KY)

C Hill


J P Terranova, II



Peppi Knows (KY)

R Migliore


T C Kreiser



Shrimp Dancer (NY)

C C Lopez


D G Donk



Turf Melody (KY)

R A Dominguez


H G Motion



Afleet Again (KY)

K Carmouche


R E Reid, Jr.



Wow Wow Wow (KY)

C S Nakatani


D W Lukas




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