Aqueduct Racetrack - In Race 6, slated for 2:47 p.m., the inaugural Atlantic Beach Stakes will see Gatsas Stables' Backtohisroots look to build on his best stakes effort after running second to Uncle Benny in the Futurity on October 7 at Belmont.
The John Terranova trainee earned an 80 Beyer in rallying from eighth to a half-length behind the victor in a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint that ran last week at Churchill Downs with Uncle Benny finishing a rallying second.
|John Terranova II
||Neverland Rock (GB)
||Gins and Tins
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
"He's doing really well and we were really proud of him for running so well on the grass first time out," Terranova said. "We tried to get in the Juvenile Sprint but unfortunately he didn't do enough in time to get close to the entries with the full field. But he's training really well and we're looking forward to Saturday."
Claimed for $50,000 off his maiden-breaking win at second asking on July 30 at Saratoga Race Course, Backtohisroots took the step up in class in finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Hopeful on September 3 at the Spa. After making his turf debut at the Atlantic Beach's distance of six furlongs in the Futurity, the Mark Valeski colt will stay on the grass, drawing the rail with Saez in the irons.
"We just had a feeling with his pedigree and his physical appearance, that he would take to the turf," Terranova said about the surface switch. "He just looked the part, physically. We worked him on it a couple of times prior to the Futurity and he was great. The turf that day had some give in it, but he certainly took to it, so if it's [soft], we don't anticipate it being a problem.
"He might be a horse who will want some more ground in front of him as a 3-year-old, but for now we'll stick with what he's done well," he added.
Calumet Farm's Good Good won his debut in a five-furlong sprint on June 30 over Gulfstream Park's main track and was switched to turf in his next start, running third in the Skidmore on August 17 at the Spa. After running ninth in the Kentucky Downs Juveniles on September 1 at one mile, trainer Todd Pletcher will see the son of Quality Road cut back from one mile for his first appearance at the Big A.
Ridden by Castellano, Good Good will break from post 5.
Honorable Hero will be making a quick turnaround after running sixth in the rescheduled Awad on November 4 at Aqueduct. The Honorable Dillon gelding, who broke his maiden in his third start overall and first on turf on October 4 at Belmont, will look for his first stakes win in his second start in less than a week for trainer Gary Contessa, drawing post 6 with Dylan Davis aboard.
Nancy Pierce's Wallace returns to the United States after three consecutive races at Woodbine, including a 12th-place finish in the Grade 1 Summer on September 16 at one mile. The Run Away and Hide gelding, trained by Kelsey Danner, won the six-furlong Soaring Free over yielding turf on August 26 and was fourth in the Victoria on July 14. Jockey Rajiv Maragh will pick up the mount, drawing post 3.
Neverland Rock was eighth in the Futurity for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen in his North American debut. After making his first five starts in his native Great Britain, the No Nay Never colt shipped to Belmont from Europe and will be looking to earn blacktype in a stakes for the first time, breaking from post 2 in tandem with Rosario.
Rounding out the field is Absentee, making his stakes debut for trainer Alan Goldberg from post 7; and Gins and Tins, a Scat Daddy colt who was fourth in the Skidmore on August 17 last out for trainer Wesley Ward, out of post 4.