A crowded field of logical local favorites and ambitiously-placed shippers marks the $300,000 Gotham Stakes on Saturday at Aqueduct.
The 1-mile, one-turn race is a pathway to the May 6 Kentucky Derby, awarding the winner 50 points and a Run for the Roses entry.
A robust field of 14 stalks the 50 points, along with the valued 20-15-10-5 totals for second through fifth.
Post time is 4:56 p.m. ET. Nationwide gamblers can access the action via FanDuel TV.
2023 Gotham Stakes Field
Here is the field for Saturday’s Gotham Stakes.
|1||Lord Miles||10-1||Paco Lopez||Saffie Joseph, Jr.|
|2||Classic Car Wash||8-1||Emisael Jaramillo||Mark Casse|
|3||Classic Legacy||6-1||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||William Mott|
|4||Groveland||8-1||Daniel Centeno||Eoin Harty|
|5||Mikey Bananas||20-1||Pablo Morales||Timothy Hamm|
|6||Tapit Trice||8-5||Luis Saez||Todd Pletcher|
|7||Freedom Road||20-1||Hector Diaz, Jr.||Gregory Sacco|
|8||Dreaming of Kona||20-1||Scott Spieth||Aldana Spieth|
|9||Shesterkin||10-1||Edgard Zayas||Todd Pletcher|
|10||Champions Dream||15-1||Antonio Gallardo||Mark Casse|
|11||Zydeceaux||20-1||Samuel Marin||Ramon Minguet|
|12||Prairie Hawk||20-1||Samy Camacho||Saffie Joseph, Jr.|
Saturday’s Aqueduct Racing Schedule
The program co-features the $200,000 Busher Stakes (a 50-20-15-10-5 Kentucky Oaks qualifier in Race 4) and the Grade 3, $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap in Race 8. The first post of the day is at 12:50 p.m. ET.
Aqueduct offers $1,151,000 in purse money, which is one of the best in the industry on Saturday.
There are several unique wagering characteristics to this card.
The feature has an overflow field with multiple betting entries.
The Busher, 1 mile on the dirt, has only six contestants, all trying to gain a performance notch after strong recent efforts.
The Tom Fool, a six-furlong sprint, has eight horses, most of whom look capable of winning. It’s a tremendous betting race.
Race 7, an allowance affair, has 12 contestants. It will be hard to find a winner, but the rewards via the large betting pool could be significant.
Throughout the card, there are varied examples of these betting opportunities. Bettors can choose which scenarios fit them.
Gotham Stakes Contenders and Overview
Lugan Knight is going to make all the sense off a victory in the $150,000 Jerome Stakes at this track. He gets leading rider, Dylan Davis.
Carmel Road ships in off a notable triumph in the Los Alamitos Futurity. It has a similar $300,000 purse and that victory makes him prominent in this mix.
What’s unusual in the 2023 Gotham is the high talent level of horses moving up in company.
Upstarts Howgreatisnate and Recruiter are both 4-0 at lower levels and their connections make the leap up in competition. They each make Aqueduct debuts after being dominant in their early races.
So does Transect, son of 2017 American Horse of the Year Gun Runner, who ships in from two formidable triumphs at 6 1-2 furlongs. He must also stretch out considerably to get 1 mile, but looked like he could do so in earlier efforts.
The one-turn layout is significant for horses who must stretch out. It has made the transition into longer races easier than that of two-turn courses.
In turn, that has encouraged connections of lightly-raced horses to see if they can handle the longer distance for bigger purse money. It contributes to this large field.
Mr. Swagger, Uncorrelated, and Slip Mahoney try to parlay lower-level wins at Aqueduct into a major stakes triumph. Slip Mahoney has a win at this distance, which is significant. But Davis moves off him and gets aboard Lugan Knight.
Lugan Knight and Carmel Road are known quantities and figure to do well. What’s not known is which of the upstarts is going to run a big one.
Busher Stakes Contenders and Overview
This is an excellent collection of fillies seeking Kentucky Oaks accreditation. The $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks is run one day before the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Shidabhuti has the longest early victory, winning handily on this surface at 1 mile and besting La Vita Sofia, who is in this field.
Ziarati opened eyes in her debut, trouncing the field by more than eight lengths under Dylan Davis. She looked like a steal at 7-2 and looked like moving to 1 mile will be no problem.
Asset Purchase was just as dominant in her debut, romping definitively. It’s going to be interesting to watch her matchup with Ziarati.
Capella may inform bettors how Turfway Park invaders may do in later races, including the Gotham. Filly is 2-for-2, with 1-mile victories at Turfway. The question will be how the Turfway circuit measures up to New York foes.
Check Engine Light has been knocking on the door without a victory in three tries. She lost in a head-bob in 1-mile at maiden special weights at this track.
Tom Fool Handicap Contenders and Overview
Great betting race amongst horses very close in ability.
Eastern Bay has hit the board eight straight times and lost a photo to Runninsonofagun, who is in this race in the $200,000 Bold Ruler.
Drafted was a little behind them in fifth and rebounded to win the $100,000 Gravesend. He came from the clouds and ran down Little Vic, Saturday’s opponent, at the wire.
Chateau won this race in 2021 and was second in 2022.
Pirate Rick has not won in stakes company but has a similar time to top rivals at this distance in allowance optional claiming.
Nakatomi finished an interested fourth behind Taiba in the $300,000 Malibu. Like others in this race, he is a deep closer. Needs a strong pace to run at. Gets Dylan Davis in the irons, a major plus.
Little Vic might at least be forwardly placed, as he was in the Gravesend.
Wendell Fong has been well behind the others and has not been able to crack through in stakes company.
Several horses can take this.