By Emily Shields
Nine juvenile colts and geldings have been entered in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen Stakes (G2), a $250,000 stepping stone to the 2020 Kentucky Derby. The prestigious Aqueduct Racetrack fixture has been won in the past by the likes of Catholic Boy, Honor Code, Thunder Gulch, and Go for Gin. Last year the winner was Maximus Mischief.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has two runners in the race, including the rail horse Chase Tracker, a 7-2 morning line price. Blinkers go on the maiden winner who finished third in the Nashua Stakes here on November 3. That was the fastest two year old stakes race of the year to date, so he could improve here with No Independence Hall in the race. Javier Castellano will ride.
The second of the Pletcher duo is Alpha Sixty Six at 4-1. The $400,000 son of Liam’s Map taeks blinkers off after a fifth place finish in the grade 1 Champagne last out. He broke his maiden at Belmont by a neck sprinting on debut. Regular rider John Velazquez is back aboard.
Trainer Shug McGaughey has an interesting one with Amends, a son of Uncle Mo who won last out over 1 1/16 miles at Belmont by more than four lengths. That was off the turf and he didn’t run too quickly, but he should continue to appreciate distance and gets Jose Ortiz.
Ajaaweed is at 9-2 morning line for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The son of Curlin has run three times, breaking his maiden second out over a mile at Belmont Park and then running fourth in the grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. He bypassed the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for this. Joel Rosario will ride.
A lot of eyes will be on sharp maiden winner Forza Di Oro for trainer Bill Mott. Junior Alvarado rides the son of Speightstown, who broke his maiden last out over 1 1/16 miles at Belmont. He was second on debut at 31-1 in September after missing the start, and has a bullet workout on the Belmont training track November 27 since then.
Cleon Jones rounds out the likely contenders. The New York-bred son of Tale of the Cat was a stakes winner at Belmont over seven furlongs two back, then ran second by a head in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes over a mile on October 19. He was a $325,000 and has more experience than any other horse in the field aside from 12-1 shot Informative, a maiden.
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