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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Stay Thirsty, Toby's Corner Head Gotham Field

3/3/2011

Stay Thirsty and Toby's Corner head a field of nine for Saturday's 1 1/16-mile, Grade III Gotham Stakes.  Stay Thirsty will make his 2011 debut for Uncle Mo owner/trainer combo Mike Repole and Todd Pletcher.

Stay Thirsty is the 9-5 morning line favorite and will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez. Off since finishing fifth behind Uncle Mo in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November, Stay Thirsty arrived at Pletcher’s Belmont Park barn Wednesday morning from Florida, where he has been working in company with his more celebrated counterpart.

“I think when Stay Thirsty gets into the starting gate Saturday, he’s going to look to his left, look to his right, and have a big smile on his face when he sees Uncle Mo isn’t there,” said Repole. “You know how passionate I am about horse racing, and I’m always happy for the horse whether it’s a $7,500 claimer or Uncle Mo. But if ever there was a horse I’m going to root for, it’s Stay Thirsty. I really want to see him win this race.”

It was a year ago that Repole paid $500,000 for Stay Thirsty at the Fasig-Tipton Calder Selected 2-Year-Olds In Training sale, confident the son of Bernardini would find success going a distance of ground. After finishing a solid second to Sovereign Default in his first start at Belmont Park last July, Stay Thirsty continued to surprise his connections with a front-running 5 1/2-length maiden score at Saratoga. He next finished second to Boys At Tosconova in the Grade I Three Chimneys Hopeful at the Spa.

“He’s been on an identical schedule as Uncle Mo, and in the three breezes he’s had with him, he’s held his own,” said Pletcher. “He’s handled each assignment we’ve given him.”

Saturday’s assignment means facing eight other sophomores whose connections have a May 7 trip to Louisville on their minds. That includes the streaking Toby’s Corner, who will be going for his fourth straight win in the Gotham.

Trained by Graham Motion, the late-running Bellamy Road colt won a pair of races at Laurel Park before heading north to the Big A, where he was an impressive two-length winner of the 1 1/16-mile Whirlaway over a muddy, sealed track on Feb. 5.

“I think each of his races has been somewhat of a progression,” said Motion, who trains Toby’s Corner for Dianne Cotter. “He kind of got to gawking at the eighth pole in the Whirlaway, as he had in his previous race, but he got it together and kind of won nicely. Every race is a step up, and I hope he shows he belongs with these caliber horses.”

Eddie Castro is back aboard Toby’s Corner, the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.

Also returning from the Whirlaway is third-place finisher Preachintothedevil, a New York-bred son of Pulpit who was making his first start in open company in the race. Winner of the Champagneforashley on New Year’s Day at the Big A, the Gary Contessa-trained colt was a 7 1/4-length winner first time out and third in the Damon Runyon in his second start. Contessa said he hopes Preachintothedevil will show even more in the Gotham.

“I think that any horse that runs well in the Gotham can be considered a Derby horse,” said Contessa. “It’s a graded race, and everyone in this race is probably testing the Triple Crown waters.”

Junior Alvarado rides Preachintothedevil, listed at 6-1 on the morning line.

Also lining up for the Gotham are a pair of recent maiden winners: Nacho Saint, who won at the Big A on Jan. 28 after having compiled a 0-3-0 record as a juvenile, including a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga last August; and The Fed Eased, second in his Aqueduct debut on Jan. 2 and a 7 1/4-length winner on Jan. 25.

Nacho Saint, 6-1 on the morning line, will have Joe Bravo aboard, while The Fed Eased, 8-1 on the morning line, has Jose Valdivia, Jr.

Rounding out the field are Starship Caesar, winner of his two most recent starts in Florida; Isn’t He Perfect, who will be making his stakes debut; Norman Asbjornson, a gate scratch from the Whirlaway; and Dawly, who has won two straight for trainer Steve Asmussen since being claimed.

--Edited NYRA release

Saturday, Race 10
Grade III Gotham Stakes
Aqueduct
Purse: $250,000
Distance: 1 1/16 Mile (Inner Track)
Surface: Dirt
Post Time: 5:12 ET

Post
Horse
  ML Jockey
Wt
S
M
Trainer
1
The Fed Eased (FL)    8-1  J. Valdivia, Jr.
 116  C L
 R. Violette, Jr.
2
Nacho Saint (KY)    6-1  J. Bravo
 116  C  L  K. Breen
3
Starship Caesar (FL)    15-1  E. Da Silva
 116  C  L  P. Parboo
4
Toby's Corner (FL)    5-2  E. Castro
 120  C  L  G. Motion
5
Stay Thirsty (KY)    9-5  R. Dominguez
 116  C  L  T. Pletcher
6
Isn't He Perfect (KY)    30-1  J. Rodgriguez
 116  C  L  D. Shivmangal
7
Preachintothedevil (NY)    6-1  J. Alvarado
 116  C  L  G. Contessa
8
Norman Ashbjornson (PA)    20-1  J. Pimentel
 120  C  L  C. W. Grove
9
Dawly (KY)    12-1  C. Velasquez
 116  G  L  S. Asmussen

Owners:  1 - Klaravich Stables, Lawrence, William, H.; 2 - George and Lori Hall; 3 - Parbhoo, Sherry; 4 - Cotter, Dianne, D.; 5 - Repole Stable; 6 - Kharag Stables; 7 - Crossed Sabres Farm; 8 - McClay, Thomas, G., Nye, Harry; 9 - Dubb, Michael, Bethlehem Stables LLC

 
Breeders:   1 - Ocala Stud; 2 - Robert E. Courtney, Jr. & Rick Stivers; 3 - Starship Stables & Laurence Leavy; 4 - Diane D. Cotter; 5 - John D. Gunther & John Darren Gunther; 6 - Diamond A Racing Corp.; 7 - Jeffrey Tucker; 8 - Thomas G. McClay, Harry C. Nye III &Horseshoe Valley Equine; 9 - Shadwell Farm, LLC

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