Sophomores Meet at Crossroads in Discovery
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Eight sophomore colts have been entered in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Discovery Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race at Aqueduct Racetrack that could serve as a springboard to even bigger things in 2012.
The 7-5 morning-line favorite for the race is Redeemed, who in his most recent start got up by a head in the Oklahoma Derby on October 16 at RemingtonPark, defeating graded stakes winners Alternation and Prayer for Relief.
Redeemed entered the Oklahoma Derby, his first start in blinkers, off runner-up efforts behind Caleb’s Posse in the Grade 2 Amsterdam on August 1 at Saratoga Race Course and Wilburn in the Smarty Jones at Parx Racing on September 5. Caleb’s Posse returned to defeat Uncle Mo in the Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop in his next start and later won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, while Wilburn came back to take the Grade 2 Indiana Derby. In addition, Wine Police and I’m Steppin’ It Up, the respective third-place finishers in the Amsterdam and Smarty Jones, won stakes in their first starts after facing Redeemed.
“You expect to have good horses at Saratoga, but we didn’t know what to expect in the Smarty Jones,” said Samantha Siegel, whose Jay Em Ess Stable campaigns Redeemed. “They both turned out to be good races.”
Siegel thinks Redeemed, who has won four of seven career starts, has room to improve.
“He’s still learning how to run,” said Siegel. “He wasn’t the type who learned how to run early. The blinkers last time probably helped him focus. We don’t have any plans etched in stone; we’ll see how he does in this race. We could have a lot of options.”
Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado will ride Redeemed, the 121-pound highweight, from post position 4.
Another horse who enters the Discovery off a start at Parx Racing is Arthur’s Tale, fourth behind To Honor and Serve, Ruler On Ice, and RattlesnakeBridge in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby on September 24. The Pennsylvania Derby was the colt’s first start since April’s Grade 1 Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial, in which he finished second by a neck over the Discovery’s course and distance.
“He had some little chip problems [after the Wood Memorial], so we sent him to the farm and gave him time,” said Pedro Mateo, assistant to trainer Tom Albertrani. “He came back at Saratoga, and then we brought him [to our base at BelmontPark]. He needed a race [when he competed in the Pennsylvania Derby] as he hadn’t run in five months. That race was pretty good. I had the horse all winter last year, and the horse is doing so great.”
Arthur’s Tale, the 4-1 third choice on the morning line who was assigned 116 pounds, will have the services of Alan Garcia from post 8.
Raison d’Etat will try to rebound off a ninth in the Grade 1 Travers on August 27 at Saratoga. Previously, the Juddmonte Farms homebred had earned his diploma by 7 ¾ lengths in his third start, a maiden special weight at Belmont in June, and was second in the Curlin at Saratoga in July.
“He got a little sick [after the Travers], so we thought maybe he was coming down with something before the race,” said Leana Willaford, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. “He’s had some nice breezes, and he’s as big and strong as ever. He’s a horse who is going to develop – his 4-year-old year should be a really big year for him.”
Raison d’Etat, weighted at 115 pounds, will leave from post 6 with Javier Castellano aboard.
The Discovery will be the second start on dirt for Philly Ace, who in his most recent start set the pace and drew clear in hand to take an entry-level allowance over the Parx main track October 10. Previously, the son of Smart Strike had made six starts on turf, including a win against state-breds on July 31 at Parx and a fourth in the Summing overnight stakes on September 16 at Belmont.
“He’s been improving all year,” said Christophe Clement, who trains Philly Ace for breeder Brushwood Stable. “His works on dirt weren’t that good at the beginning of the year, but he started to work better on dirt recently, so we gave it a try. [The Discovery] is ambitious, but this time of year you have to be ambitious.”
Philly Ace, 15-1 on the morning line, will carry 115 pounds, including David Cohen, from post 7.
From the rail out, the Discovery Field also includes Eltheeb, Golden Gulch, Ghost Gunner, and Socialsaul.