2017 Carter Handicap Preview, Entries & Odds

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Dave Bond | OTB Writer

OffTrackBetting.com - Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, New York will play host to the G1 Carter Handicap on Saturday, April 8. A purse of $400,000 will be on the line for horses four years old and upward willing to go seven furlongs on Aqueduct's dirt track.

A strong field of nine will take to the track in the Carter Handicap - race 9 on Aqueduct's impressive Saturday card. Post time is 5:15 PM. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all nine combatants for this intriguing G1 stakes.

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2017 Carter Handicap Entries at Aqueduct Racetrack

Unified - lightly raced, multiple graded stakes winning James Jerkens trained colt has just five career starts with four impressive wins and a disappointing fifth place finish. Last time out was a strong bounce back win over the terrific Mind Your Biscuits in the G3 Gulfstream Park Sprint February 25 which followed his only career blemish - a fifth way back on June 19 in the G3 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park. Before that was a very nice victory in the G2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park May 14 after another win by three lengths with an impressive 107 Beyer Speed Figure in the G3 Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct April 9 - over a pretty good field and a dominant three length score as favorite at first asking at Gulfstream in February - a race he posted a 100 Beyer Speed Figure. Unified has won four of five in his career and looks for a first G1 victory Saturday with Javier Castellano scheduled to ride from gate 8.

Green Gratto - defending eighth place finisher in this race - Gaston Grant trainee won the 2015 G3 Fall Highweight Handicap on this track but has been up and down since. He arrives off a disappointing seventh in the G3 Tom Fool Handicap on this track March 11 which followed his best result in a while however - a front-running win with a 100 Beyer Speed Figure in the G3 Toboggan Stakes here January 16. Those results followed an OK second behind Stallwalkin' Dude in the minor Gravesend Stakes on this track and three straight off-the-board finishes - a fourth in the G3 Fall Highweight, a fifth in the G3 Bold Ruler Handicap and a seventh in the G1 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park October 1. He also posted an OK second in the minor New Jersey Breeders Handicap at Monmouth Park August 28, a nice win in the minor Hockessin Stakes at Delaware Park July 16 and a couple more unflattering results. He has placed in just five of 15 graded stakes tries, has eight wins, nine seconds and eight third place finishes in 52 career starts and looks for a strong bounce back after an ugly effort last time out with Christopher DeCarlo in the reins from post 7.

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Spartiatis - has five wins, three seconds and five third place finishes in 31 career starts for trainer Leon Blusiewicz. He arrives off a career-best effort - a win in the G3 Tom Fool Handicap on this track March 11 which followed an Allowance Optional Claiming score here January 21, a fourth in a similar race on this track December 16 and a seventh in the G3 Fall Highweight Handicap on this track November 24. He was pretty inconsistent before that as well. Spartiatis is in career-best form and will shoot for a third straight win (second graded stakes) with Rajiv Maragh in the irons from gate 6.

King Kranz - John Terranova trained colt has two wins, three seconds and four third place finishes in 13 career starts. Last time out was an OK third in the G3 Tom Fool Handicap here March 11 after a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming here February 15, seven months away, a sixth in the G2 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga, a nice win in the minor Gold Fever Stakes at Belmont Park in May and a respectable runner-up finish in the G3 Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct in April, 2016. King Kranz has been just OK lately and will be after his first ever graded stakes win (first win overall since May). Kendrick Carmouche gets the call from post 5.

Awesome Banner - Kenneth Decker trained colt has placed in 10 of 14 career starts - six wins (five stakes), three seconds and a third place finish. He won his first three career starts including the G3 Hutcheson Stakes in January, 2016 and the G2 Swale Stakes in February and struggled in his next two graded stakes starts. He picked up his game after that - three wins and three seconds in six starts since including a second in the minor Steel Valley Sprint Stakes at Mahoning Valley November 21, wins in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes and the minor Prized Stakes (both at Gulfstream) and consecutive seconds including the G3 Carry Back Stakes at Gulfstream in July. He has been just OK in his last three starts - a fourth last time out in the G2 Gulfstream Park Handicap February 11 followed a third in the minor Sunshine Millions Sprint January 21 and a fifth in the G1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita December 26. Awesome Banner searches for his first graded stakes score in 16 months and enters in so-so form. John Velazquez has the mount from gate 4.

Tommy Macho - has placed in 10 of 13 career starts - five wins, a second and four third place finishes. He won the G3 Discovery Handicap by 4 1/2 lengths at Aqueduct to end his 2015 campaign and has been OK in six starts since. Last time out was an OK third in the G3 Gulfstream Park Handicap February 11 which followed a terrific 5 3/4 length win on that track in the G3 Hal's Hope Stakes January 14, a fourth in the minor Richard W. Small Stakes at Laurel Park November 19, a fifth after tiring in the G2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park October 8, eight months away, a good 3 3/4 length win over the terrific Stanford in the G3 Fred W. Hooper Stakes at Gulfstream in February, 2016 and a second in the minor Queens County Stakes in December, 2015. Tommy Macho has been competitive nearly every time out and will chase his fourth graded stakes score. Luis Saez will be in the saddle from gate 2.

All Star Red - Rudy Rodriguez trainee has placed in 11 of 19 career starts - five wins, four seconds and two third place finishes. He enters off a disappointing sixth in the G3 Tom Fool Handicap on this track March 11 which followed a decent second behind Green Gratto in the G3 Toboggan Stakes here January 16, a third in the minor Gravesend Stakes here December 18, a sixth in the G3 Fall Highweight Handicap on this track November 24 and a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Belmont Park October 27. His best efforts last year were a second in the G3 Maryland Sprint Handicap at Pimlico in May and an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Belmont Park in April. All Star Red will be after his first ever stakes score Saturday and first win overall in about a year Saturday with Manuel Franco in the irons from the rail.

Sassicaia - Rudy Rodriguez trainee has four wins, six seconds and two third place finishes in 18 career starts and enters off a fourth place finish in the G3 Tom Fool Handicap here March 11 which followed a runner-up finish in an Allowance Optional Claiming here February 17, nearly 10 months away and a disappointing sixth in the 2016 Carter Handicap in April. Before that was a tidy two race win streak - in his stakes debut - the 2016 G3 Toboggan Stakes on this track January 30, 2016 and in an Allowance Optional Claiming also here December 26, 2015. Sassicaia has failed to place in two of his last three starts but did post a G3 score in this track 15 months ago. He hopes to channel that form Saturday when he leaves from post 3 with Irad Ortiz guiding him.

Ocean Knight - Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt has placed in nine of 12 career starts - four wins, three seconds and two third place finishes. He arrives off a somewhat disappointing fourth in the G3 General George Stakes at Laurel Park February 18 which followed a front-running Allowance Optional Claiming score at Aqueduct January 5, an ugly tenth in the G1 Cigar Mile on that track November 26, a decent third in the G2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park October 8 and two straight runner-up finishes in Allowance Optional Claiming races this past summer. He also won the G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay in January, 2016 in his second career start and had a third in the G3 Discovery Handicap in November, 2015. Ocean Knight has been decent every time out except for his effort three starts back and will be shooting for his second graded stakes win (first in two years) from the outside post 9. Paco Lopez will be in the reins.


2017 Carter Handicap Odds & Entries

Race 9 on Aqueduct's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:15 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer
1 All Star Red Manuel Franco Rudy Rodriguez
2 Tommy Macho Luis Saez Todd Pletcher
3 Sassicaia Irad Ortiz, Jr. Rudy Rodriguez
4 Awesome Banner John Velazquez Kenneth Decker
5 King Kranz Kendrick Carmouche John Terranova, II
6 Spartiatis Rajiv Maragh Leon Blusiewicz
7 Green Gratto Christopher DeCarlo Gaston Grant
8 Unified Javier Castellano James Jerkens
9 Ocean Knight Paco Lopez Kiaran McLaughlin

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