Graded stakes for juveniles highlight opening day card at Aqueduct

December 10, 2019

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - A pair of 2-year-old graded stakes races will take center stage when live racing returns to Aqueduct Racetrack on Wednesday, the Grade 2, $200,000 Nashua and its filly counterpart the Grade 3, $200,000 Tempted, both run at a mile on the main track.

Leading the Nashua is impressive debut winner and $2.2 million yearling purchase Mohaymen for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Shadwell Stable. The gray son of Tapit, out of multiple graded stakes winner Justwhistledixie, was well thought of in his unveiling, going off as the 9-5 favorite and holding off Seymourdini and King Kranz after setting the early pace. The McLaughlin trainee will stretch out from six furlongs to a mile with Junior Alvarado in the irons from post 7.

Sunny Ridge will try to prove his second-place finish in the Grade 1 Champagne on October 3 at Belmont Park was no fluke for trainer Jason Servis and owner Dennis Drazin. The Holy Bull gelding was sent off at odds of 23-1 in the Champagne and held for second after tracking the early pace but was no match for winner Greenpointcrusader, who finished seventh in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile this past weekend.

Prior to the Champagne, Sunny Ridge took the one-mile Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park and finished seventh in the Grade 3 Sanford at Saratoga Race Course. He will break from the rail with Jose Lezcano aboard.

Magna Light, seventh in the Champagne, will look to rebound on Wednesday. The Rudy Rodriguez trainee won his debut on June 28 at Belmont Park before crossing the wire first in the Sanford, though he was disqualified and placed second, and then finished second in the Grade 1 Hopeful. Jose Ortiz will ride the bay son of Magna Graduate from post 3.

Rounding out the Nashua field are Jay's Way, who has won his last two starts for trainer Jamie Ness; River Dell, a recent maiden winner at Belmont for trainer Tom Albertrani; Pilot House, a debut winner at Monmouth on September 27; Sail Ahoy, fourth in the Champagne; and Flexibility, a New York-bred debut winner trained by Chad Brown.

In the Tempted, recent maiden graduate Welcoming will look to keep the momentum going for trainer Christophe Clement and owner Robert Evans, the connections that sent out Tonalist to victory in the Belmont fall meet's centerpiece, the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. Welcoming tuned up for her maiden-breaker at Belmont with a pair of encouraging sprint races at Saratoga Race Course.

Stretching out to a mile on October 4, the daughter of Tapit tracked the early pace and drew off impressively to prevail by 5 ¼ lengths. She will be ridden by Joel Rosario, and the pair will leave from post 2.

From the lesser-known connections of trainer Marialice Coffey and Coffeepot Stables, Flora Dora will look to build on her already impressive bankroll of $300,332. The chestnut filly finished sixth in her debut at the Spa, and then took down the 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl Stakes on October 3 at Gulfstream Park, which was restricted to Florida-sired horses and carried a purse of $500,000.

Completing the field in the Tempted are Disco Rose, who recently broke her maiden at Parx Racing; Big World, who broke her maiden in her most recent start for trainer Tony Dutrow and owner Maggi Moss; Hi Holiday, a neck-winner of the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth in her latest effort; and Banree, who won an allowance race at Keeneland in her last start.

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