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A competitive field of 10 juveniles has been assembled for Sunday's featured event at Aqueduct Racetrack, the Grade 3, $150,000 Nashua Stakes going one mile over the main track.
Sunday's 10-race card at the Big A will also include the $125,000 Zagora at 1 ½ miles on the inner turf and the $100,000 Chelsey Flower for juveniles at one mile on the inner turf, which are both rescheduled from the Closing Day card at Belmont Park, which was canceled following the opening race due to high winds and heavy rainfall. The $100,000 Pumpkin Pie, which was also slated for Closing Day at Belmont, is re-scheduled for Saturday, November 9.
Race 9 at Aqueduct on Sunday, November 03 - Post 4:50 PM
|4||Polar Bear Pete||30-1||Dylan Davis
|5||Independence Hall||8-1||Jose Ortiz
|7||Chase Tracker||7-2||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|Jorge Duarte, Jr.|
A notable prep for the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen on December 7, the Nashua pays homage to the three-time champion who was crowned 1955 Horse of the Year. Trained by the late Hall of Fame Sunny "Jim" Fitzsimmons, Nashua was second in the Kentucky Derby to Swaps, whom he defeated in a historic match race at the defunct Washington Park in Chicago in August of that year.
Entering the Nashua off an impressive maiden victory is Americanus for trainer Mark Hennig. Owned by Courtlandt Farms, the son of War Front was a 1 ¼-length winner on September 28 over the main track at Belmont Park, where he defeated well-bred rivals Toledo and Mandatory.
"He's been training well. It's a tough spot and the stretch out in distance is always interesting, but we think he's up for the task," Hennig said. "We're optimistic, but that happens when you're one-for-one. He seems versatile in the mornings, so the pace will dictate where he's at early on. I don't think he'll be quite as close as he was last time."
Fresh off a riding title for the fall meet at Belmont Park, jockey Manny Franco will pilot Americanus from post 2.
Trainer Tom Albertrani teamed up with Godolphin to win the 2016 Nashua with Hemsworth, and the trainer-owner combo will be represented this year with impressive maiden winner Spycraft.
The bay son of Discreet Cat led at every point of call in his career debut, which he won by 3 ½ lengths sprinting six furlongs on the Big Sandy on September 21, registering a 77 Beyer Speed Figure.
"He's definitely been on his game and has been sharper since his last race. He's been training forwardly," Albertrani said. "He doesn't necessarily need to be on the front end, we'll just let [jockey] Jose [Lezcano] figure it out."
Spycraft is one of six horses in the field entering fresh off a first-out victory. Ablertrani said the Nashua could determine the top contenders going forward.
"This race could separate a few horses. A lot of them are in the same position where they have only ran once. Hopefully, Spycraft can run the same way he did in his maiden win," Albertrani said.
Spycraft will emerge from post 1.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will look to extend his record of Nashua triumphs to six with Shadwell Stable's Ashaar, who broke his maiden on October 12 at Belmont Park by 2 ½ lengths.
Bred in Kentucky by Colts Neck Farm, the son of Into Mischief is out of the Coronado's Quest broodmare Well Spring, whose dam was two-time Grade 1-winner Chaposa Springs. Ashaar was acquired for $650,000 from last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Ashaar, whose name is an Arabic word for "brave" or "strong", will leave from post 10 under jockey Joe Bravo.
Completing the field are Liveyourbeastlife [post 3, Luis Saez], Polar Bear Pete [post 4, Dylan Davis], Independence Hall [post 5, Jose Ortiz], Lebda [post 6, Trevor McCarthy], Chase Tracker [post 7, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], Meru [post 8, Javier Castellano] and Famished [post 9, Junior Alvarado].
|Race Tracks||Time (EST)|