Head of Plains Partners' Stallwalkin' Dude will look to start his 7-year-old campaign in the same manner he concluded his 2016 effort when he headlines a seven-horse field for 4-year-olds and up in the 124th running of the six-furlong Grade 3, $125,000 Toboggan on the inner dirt track Monday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained and co-owned by David Jacobson, the Florida bred has posted four consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures, including a 100 mark in winning the Gravesend last out on December 18 at the Big A. He is 2-2-0 in his last four starts at six furlongs.
The ultra-consistent bay gelding has won two of his last three starts, including capturing the Grade 3 Bold Ruler on October 29, and has finished in the money in his last six races. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will be in the irons again out of post 6.
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez entered a pair, including All Star Red, who used a wide trip to finish third in the Gravesend in his first start on the inner track. The 5-year-old will return to graded stakes company for the first time since finishing sixth in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap on November 24.
"He's training very good, we've just been disappointed he hasn't gotten a win, but he's faced some tough competition," Rodriguez said. "We put the blinkers on him, and it looks like it's helped a little bit. We just have to get to the next step, but it's tough."
All Star Red, owned by Carl Lizza Racing Stables, drew post 2. Antonio Gallardo is set to ride.
Story to Tell, also for Rodriguez, will make his first graded stakes start since the 2014 Grade 3 Bob Hope looking for his third consecutive win overall after besting a field of nine at the Toboggan distance on December 16 against allowance company.
The 5-year-old son of Bluegrass Cat, who posted a personal-best 100 Speed Figure in his last start, won his first race since being claimed by owners Michael Dubb and Michael Imperio and will have the services of jockey Angel Arroyo from post 3.
"The owners said he loves the track, and we're hoping he comes back and runs the same way," Rodriguez said. "They say he ran a big number, but I don't look at that. We'll take a chance since you never know."
Life in Shambles will make his graded stakes debut for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen in drawing the outside. The 6-year-old will be looking to finish on the board for the first time in five starts on the inner dirt but has won three of his eight starts at six furlongs, including a victory by a nose in an optional claimer on November 23. Cornelio Velazquez will ride.
Green Gratto, the field's most experienced runner, will make his 51st career start. Trained by Gaston Grant, the 7-year-old is 4-3-4 in 17 career starts on the inner dirt and will run a graded stakes race for the fourth time in five starts, finishing fourth, fifth and seventh in the Fall Highweight, Bolder Ruler and Grade 1 Vosburgh, respectively. Green Gratto will leave from the rail in tandem with Kendrick Carmouche.
The Great War, for trainer Wesley Ward, will seek his first graded stakes win in departing post 4 with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. The 5-year-old should be well-rested after a fifth-place finish in the Fall Highweight. His best finish in a graded stakes start was third in the 2015 Grade 2 Nearctic over a synthetic surface at Woodbine.
Rounding out the field is Classy Class for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The 5-year-old will seek his first stakes win and first overall victory since July 2015. Rajiv Maragh has the mount from post 5.
Source: NYRA Communications