Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct
On Saturday, March 1st, 2014 we have the $500,000 Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. The Gotham Stakes is one of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series races that rewards the top 4 finishers with qualifying points towards this year’s Kentucky Derby. If you are unfamiliar with the Kentucky Derby Points System, you should check out our page dedicated to the system with the leaderboard, replays and breakdown of the points system- 2014 Kentucky Derby Points System. The Gotham Stakes is actually named after New York City, which in years past was often called Gotham City. This race was initially inaugurated at Jamaica racetrack in 1953 but when it closed, the race moved to Aqueduct. It has seen some great horses in its time including Native Dancer, Dr. Fager, Secretariat, and Easy Goer. In this year’s edition we have 2 speed rivals, Samraat and Uncle Sigh set to duke it out after their close race in the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct on February 1st. Here’s that race in case you missed it-
Aqueduct’s Gotham Stakes
The $500,000 Grade 3 Gotham Stakes is the 9th race on the card at Aqueduct on Saturday and will feature a field of 11 three year olds traveling 1 1/16. The 5 to 2 morning line favorite is Samraat who won the Withers by a length over Uncle Sigh, who is 3 to 1 on the ML. Trained by Richard Violette, Jr and ridden by Jose Ortiz, Samraat is undefeated in all 4 of his starts. He is also coupled here with My Meadowview Farm’s Noble Cornerstone. As you can see in the video above, Uncle Sigh and Samraat left the rest of that field behind in the Withers, holding a good 8 length lead over them as they turned for home. I expect to see this duel continue here in the Gotham, but there are some problems for these 2 that you need to be mindful of. In Trouble and Extrasexyhippzster will want that front end lead, too and both have speed figures that prove they are capable of running with Samraat and Uncle Sigh. This 4 way battle early on could be disastrous for any of these 4 and for that reason, I’m looking for the one who can stalk. In the Withers, Samraat stayed just close enough to Uncle Sigh so that when it came time to hit that “hidden gear”, he could and did. I really think he’s capable of doing it again here even with In Trouble and Extrasexyhippzster up in the mix. But also hate to tout the favorite, so of these 4, I think that Extrasexyhippzster will be my choice for value. Extrasexyhippzster is 4 to 1 on the morning line, but I believe the public will get wrapped up in the duel between Uncle Sigh and Samraat and overlook the “hippzster” just enough to make this one pay okay, should he prevail. He has the highest speed figure in this field and if jockey, Julian Pimentel can get him to stalk closely here, he could jump in there and capture this race. For a longshot, I like Harpoon at 10 to 1 on the ML. He made a very nice late rally in the Grade 3 Sam F Davis at Tampa Bay Downs finishing 2nd and missing it by a nose. His speed figures have steadily improved and his works look great. I believe he is ready for the Gotham and if the speed war takes hold of the 4 front runners here, Harpoon might just bring in a “whale” of a win. Good luck everybody!