Gotham Stakes Picks – Aqueduct Race 10

Toby’s Corner should be square price in Gotham Stakes at

2011 Road to the Kentucky Derby

The Gotham Stakes, Aqueduct, Race 10, Saturday, March 5, 2011

3-Year-Olds, Grade III, 1 1/16 Miles, Inner Dirt, Purse $250,000

2011 Gotham Stakes Picks

1. Toby’s Corner

2. Preachintothedevil

3. Nacho Saint

4. Stay Thirsty

Toby’s Corner should be the second choice when he steps up in class
again on Saturday in the 59th running of The Gotham Sakes at Aqueduct, and
that would suit us just fine in a race unlikely to produce the 2011 Kentucky
Derby winner.

While there aren’t any horses in the Gotham that appear worth getting
excited about, Toby’s Corner at least gives the impression he could
improve again off his two length come-from-behind victory in the muddy Whirlaway
Stakes going 1 1/16-miles at Aqueduct on February 5. A 3-year-old colt by
Bellamy Road-Brandon’s Ride by Mister Frisky, Toby’s Corner
was winning his third in a row in the Whirlaway and the horse that finished
second in that race, J J’s Luck Train, came right back to win the
Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel.

Trainer Graham Motion is a perfect 3-for-3 at the Aqueduct meeting, his
percentages are solid in this situation and jockey Eddie Castro is currently
fourth in the standings while also winning 2-of-4 for Motion. Expect Castro
to rate Toby’s Corner off a decent pace which could be set by any
number of horses still learning how to run, and battle down the lane to
win it late, just as he did he did in the Whirlaway.

Morning-line favorite Stay Thirsty is the horse that has something to prove.
The $500,000 purchase by Bernardini-Marozia by Storm Bird hasn’t been
seen since finishing a distant fifth behind stablemate and current Kentucky
Derby favorite Uncle Mo in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on November
6, 2010. Prior to the Juvenile, Stay Thirsty had finished a good second
behind the talented Boys At Tosconova in the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga.
Stay Thirsty has been working head-and-head with Uncle Mo for his 3-year-old
debut, but while trainer Pletcher’s numbers are solid off the layoff
and rider Ramon Dominguez is easily the best rider at Aqueduct, you have
to think that this race is not the one that counts. At a short price, we’re
not buying.

The angle plays in the race are Preachintothedevil, Dawly and Nacho Saint.

Preachintothedevil actually ran a decent race in finishing third beaten
5 ¾-lengths behind Toby’s Corner in the Whirlaway on the class
raise and could move forward in his second try against these types now that
he’s got the air he needed. And Preachintothedevil probably ran better
than his Past Performance lines look in the Whirlaway, as he was part of
the early pace before dropping back to stalk. He then made a bid on the
inside into the stretch but was outfinished. If he can rate early in the
Gotham and avoid being too close to the early pace, he can rally for a piece
and should be at least be considered as an upset threat if Toby’s
Corner doesn’t fire.

Dawly was claimed for $50,000 by Steve Asmussen two starts ago and came
right back to win a starter allowance on a muddy track at Aqueduct going
six furlongs on February 6. He wasn’t super impressive that day, and
he’s never run over six furlongs, but he fits on the route pedigree
angle, being by Awesome Again out of a Tiznow mare. Asmussen is winning
with an exceptional 31 percent of his starters and jockey Cornelio Velasquez
can still ride like the wind on his best day. A heated pace battle would
definitely help Dawley’s chances as he tries to overcome both the
class raise and the stretchout.

Nacho Saint wired a Maiden Special Weight field going a mile at Aqueduct
on January 28 in his first start since finishing fifth in the Grade III
Sapling at Monmouth on September 4, 2010, and now makes his second start
of the layoff. He fits on the back class angle based on his off the pace
second-place finish in the Grade II Sanford going six furlongs at Saratoga
as a 2-year-old.

Rounding out the field are Fed Eased, who went wire-to-wire to defeat a
Maiden Special Weight field by 7 ¼-lengths going six furlongs at
Aqueduct on January 29; Starship Caesar, who came from just off the pace
to win a mile starter allowance at Gulfstream Park after being claimed for
$25,000 by trainer Bisnath Parboo; Norman Asbjornson, a sleeper who has
won two in a row on the front end going a mile and a mile and sixteenth
at Penn National and Parx but we’re not convinced he can come from
off the pace with these; and Isn’t He Perfect, who appears to be a
lower level off-the-pace grinder that could only finish in the money if
the majority of the field failed to show up. You could maybe use him in
the fourth spot in your superfectas as the longest shot on the board.

Good Luck!