Brian’s Derby Preps: The Gotham

Aqueduct: The Grade III, $250,000 Gotham at 1 1/16 miles

#1 The Fed Eased (8-1 ML): Talented sprinter stretches out after an authoritative win five weeks ago where he simply ran his four rivals off their feet early and never looked back. Bred to get this longer trip today and with his sprint speed and cozy rail draw, there’s little doubt he’ll be able to make the lead and take them as far as he can go, which might be a lot farther than many think; call to wire these at a nice price.

#2 Nacho Saint (6-1): After dabbling in graded stakes as a 2yo, he returned in January to finally break his maiden over the inner, and it’s worth noting that that was also his two-turn debut. Wired a modest field that day, but he’ll probably find himself stalking from close range today and that’s not a bad trip to fall into, either; talented, but others rank a tad higher.

#3 Starship Caesar (15-1): Looks like a pretty crafty claim after that solid win over starter-allowance runners at Gulfstream, and now he ships up the coast for a try at the big boys. Tries two turns for the first time, and though he has a pedigree that says he should run all day, this seems like an awful lot to ask of a colt who has been trading punches with claimers in his first three career starts; outsider.

#4 Toby’s Corner (5-2): Upset winner of the Whirlaway, the local prep over the track and distance, is back to show that that run over a muddy racetrack was no fluke. Closed smartly from the outside that day, and it’s worth noting that second-place finisher J J’s Lucky Train came right back to win the Miracle Wood at Laurel, so at least there was a hint of quality behind him. Still unproven at this level on fast dirt, but it’s not like this is your dad’s Gotham with Easy Goer, Devil His Due or Red Bullet lining up, is it? Clearly capable of doubling up.

#5 Stay Thirsty (9-5): Extremely talented runner makes his first start at 3 after a very solid juvenile campaign that saw a GI-placing in the Hopeful and a solid fifth-place finish in the BC Juvenile to close out his year. Half-brother to Belmont runner-up Andromeda’s Hero is bred to run all day, and while he’s clearly the most talented and accomplished member of the field, it’s important to remember that this is just the first start on a path that will hopefully lead to the Kentucky Derby in a few months, so point being, he’s probably not all that cranked for a big run today. Still, with that being said, the path to the winner’s circle clearly goes through this colt; should be tough to deny from close range.

#6 Isn’t He Perfect (30-1): Has been beaten pretty good in his three starts versus winners and his lone win can in an off-the-turf maiden claimer, so it’s tough to envision him having any impact in this salty spot; deserving longshot.

#7 Preachintothedevil (6-1): Didn’t run poorly when third in the Whirlaway, but he didn’t really kick it in late, either, like many thought he would. Of course, the track looked more like the Hudson River that day, so maybe he just didn’t handle it as well as ‘Toby’s did. State-bred did look sharp winning a minor restricted stakes two-back and he should sit the trip today; the price will be right if you’re still a believer.

#8 Norman Asbjornson (20-1): How was this guy not a character on Seinfeld? Regardless, the equine version is a PA invader who has come to hand of late with two straight wins since stretching out to two turns. That’s the good news; the bad news is that’s he still open lengths behind these on paper and will have to run the race of his life to make an impact; not expecting it today.

#9 Dawly (12-1): Looks like Asmussen made a nice claim, as this gelding was a good-looking winner of a starter-allowance here last month. Now he stretches out to two turns for the first time, but he’s by a BC Classic winner in Awesome Again and his damsire is also by a BC Classic winner in Tiznow, so surely this trip will only help. The issue is post, as he drew horribly and will probably be extremely wide into the first turn; passing today but is worth remembering down the road.

Selections:

#1 The Fed Eased

#5 Stay Thirsty

#4 Toby’s Corner

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