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Breeders' Cup 2017

Rescind the Trade Whirlaway Choice

With an eye to the future, seven 3-year-olds will find out if maturity and distance are on their side when they line up for Saturday’s $100,000 Whirlaway at Aqueduct Racetrack.


At 1 1/16th miles, the Whirlaway – named for the popular colt who swept the 1941 Triple Crown – is just the second open stakes of 2011 for sophomores in New York, and the connections of many of Saturday’s entrants are hoping the race will be a gauge of things to come.


“They all change so rapidly this time of year,” said Dogwood Stables’ Cot Campbell, whose Sky Music drew post position 7 for the race. “Dramatic things happen. Some of those unwatched pots begin to boil, and that’s where we hope he is.”


The New York-bred son of Sky Mesa, who fetched $140,000 as a yearling at Saratoga’s Fasig Tipton sales, has two victories in four starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, all against fellow state-breds. He followed his maiden victory at Belmont Park on October 3 with a 3 ¾-length win in the Restrainor Stakes over the Big A’s main track on November 18, and then finished fourth and third, respectively, as the favorite in the Damon Runyon and the Champagneforashley.


“He got off to a splendid start and won a stakes,” said Campbell. “We think – repeat, think – he got a little unlucky in his past two. In the Damon Runyon he was in all sorts of trouble, and in his last race he dropped back and then came extremely wide. I think we might have had the best horse, and in this race, against open company, we’ll find out. Now’s the time to take a shot. He’s got the right to be a good horse, and, he’s in good hands.”


David Cohen will be aboard Sky Music, listed at 10-1 on the morning line.


Putting a 2-for-2 record on the line as the 2-1 favorite in the Whirlaway is Klaravich Stables, Inc.’s Rescind the Trade, who broke his maiden at Parx Racing and next took a one-mile, 70-yard optional claimer at Aqueduct on December 19.


“His Parx race was very professional,” said trainer Rick Violette. “He had to tap on the brakes a couple of times, and prevailed in a stretch-long duel over a horse [Tap Star] who won the next time out. In his next start, his first around two turns, the first turn surprised him, and when he got to the five-eighths pole he didn’t understand he still had another turn to go. He lost all position, but then circled widest and came back to beat a horse [Pants On Fire] who went on to finish second in the LeCompte stakes at the Fair Grounds.


“So he overcame a less than perfect trip, and those turned out to be nice horses he beat,” added Violette. “You hope it carries forward.”


Alan Garcia will ride the Put It Back colt from post position 3.


Preachintothedevil comes into the Whirlaway off a mild upset in the Champagneforashley, in which he sat three-wide before taking over and pulling clear to a 3 ¼-length victory, his second in three starts. Trained by Gary Contessa, the Pulpit colt was a 7 ¼-length winner in his debut, which came off the turf, and next finished third in the Damon Runyon.


“It will be the acid test,” said Contessa, who trains Preachintothedevil for Crossed Sabres’ Farm. “With a young horse, you like to see every race be a step forward, whether it’s a baby step or a big step. He went from a maiden race to a stakes, and performed well, and then won a stakes. He’s continuing to impress me. And if we have even the remotest idea this horse has a chance to go to the Triple Crown, this is the place to find out.”


Junior Alvarado rides Preachintothedevil, 4-1 on the morning line, from post 5.


Norman Asbjornson carries a two-race winning streak into the Whirlaway, having broken his maiden in a one-mile event at Penn National in December and following that up with a front-running allowance win at Parx on Jan. 11.


“The two turns has really helped him,” said trainer Christopher Grove of the Real Quiet colt, who was winless in his first three starts sprinting. “He didn’t show a whole lot going short. It’s a little ambitious, but he keeps improving.”


J.D. Acosta will ride Norman Asbjornson, 20-1 on the morning line, from post position 4.


Rounding out the field are J J’s Lucky Train, whose two-race win streak was snapped when he finished second to Monzon in the Count Fleet on New Year’s Day; Darley Stable’s Arthur’s Tale, fourth in the Count Fleet, and the H. Graham Motion-trained Toby’s Corner, who has won his two most recent starts at Laurel Park by a combined 12 lengths.


The field for the $100,000 Whirlaway:








Toby's Corner (FL)

E Castro


H G Motion



Arthur's Tale (KY)

C C Lopez


T Albertrani



Rescind the Trade (FL)

A Garcia


R A Violette, Jr.



Norman Asbjornson (PA)

J D Acosta


C W Grove



Preachintothedevil (NY)

J Alvarado


G C Contessa



J J's Lucky Train (KY)

J C Ferrer


W D Anderson



Sky Music (NY)

D Cohen


T A Pletcher






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