Shotski finds the right spot, wins Aqueduct's Remsen Stakes

December 07, 2019 03:56pm
Shotski finds the right spot, wins Aqueduct's Remsen Stakes
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

Not liking conditions last weekend at Churchill Downs, where rain resulted in a sloppy track, trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer scratched Shotski for another spot on the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail.

The decision landed O’Dwyer his first graded stakes victory when Shotski took a front-running trip to win Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct, where speed was ruling on the afternoon.

Jockey Luis Saez pushed Shotski past Todd Pletcher-trained Chase Tracker into the first turn, and after opening fractions of 24.26 and 50.08 seconds, he put a fellow longshot in Prince James away through the far turn.

Ajaaweed was the only rival to post a significant rally, and he narrowed the gap significantly in the stretch. But Shotski held on to complete the nine furlongs in 1:54.24 for the connections of Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, Pantofel Stable and Mike Karty.

Shotski earned 10 qualifying points toward next year’s Derby, with Ajaweed (4), Chase Tracker (2) and Informative (1) the others filling out the Remsen’s first four.

A mere $25,000 yearling purchase, Shotski was 10th on the turf in his Kentucky Downs debut but came back to break his maiden on the main track at Laurel Park by four lengths in October.

"I've had a lot of faith in this horse since the day we bought him," 
said O'Dwyer, who won his first stakes earlier this year with Needs Supervision in Fair Grounds' Rachel Alexandra Stakes. "...We got to bring him along at our own pace -- the way we like to do it -- and thank God he's done nothing but progress and improve the whole time."

Shotski first tested stakes in Churchill’s Street Sense, where Silver Prospector was third and Shotski fourth. Silver Prospector returned to win the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2), and it took just a week for another graded winner to emerge from that flight in Shotski.

"The form was frank, which is nice," O'Dwyer said. "The 2-year-olds, they're all young. They're all only having their third or fourth starts. You don't know who's progressing, who's regressing. I knew our horse was progressing. It was just a matter of how much the others were."

Away at 8-1 in an open field of nine, Shotski returned $19.60. Favored Alpha Sixty Six, another from the Pletcher barn, wasn't able to mount a rally from off the pace.

O'Dwyer said Shotski will continue his training at Laurel Park as connections determine next steps.


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