Carson’s Run Makes Sophomore Debut in Woodhaven

April 24, 2024

Carson’s Run victorious in the Summer (G1) Sep. 16 at Woodbine (Michael Burns)

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By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— West Point Thoroughbreds and Steven Bouchey’s Grade 1-winner Carson’s Run will make the first start of his sophomore campaign in Saturday’s $125,000 Woodhaven, a one-mile inner turf test for 3-year-olds, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Christophe Clement, the Cupid chestnut has not raced since finishing off-the-board in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in November at Santa Anita Park, the final race of a strong juvenile campaign that saw him hit the board in 3-of-4 outings.

Carson’s Run graduated on debut in July at Saratoga Race Course when rallying late to nail next-out winner and eventual graded stakes-placed Moonlight by a neck in a 1 1/16-mile turf test. He followed with his stakes debut in the Grade 3 With Anticipation on August 31 over the Spa’s inner turf and rallied well to finish second a half-length back of the filly Gala Brand.

Carson’s Run quickly became a fan favorite over the summer at Saratoga. He was named in honor of Carson Yost, who was born with the rare genetic disorder Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. Carson is the son of Wade Yost, a former classmate of West Point Thoroughbreds’ founder Terry Finley at the United States Military Academy.

Jason Blewitt, Executive Vice President of West Point Thoroughbreds, said campaigning Carson’s Run has been a soul-lifting experience since Day One.

“He’s had a real fairy-tale start to his career from the time we bought him last April to now,” said Blewitt. “Winning first out at Saratoga [is special] for any horse, but knowing his story and how much publicity that story got, it was really incredible. To get a good story that everyone was behind and rooting for was magical. We’re excited to see him hopefully step forward and be that kind of horse as a 3-year-old.”

Carson’s Run’s strong performances at Saratoga were just a preview of what was to come when traveling to Canada to contest Woodbine’s Grade 1 Summer in September.

There, Carson’s Run emerged from post 2-of-9 under returning rider Dylan Davis and stalked 5 1/2 lengths off the pace in last through the first half-mile of the one-mile test for juveniles. By the three-quarters call, he was just 2 1/4 lengths back of pacesetter My Boy Prince and assumed a narrow advantage at the top of the lane with a 10-wide bid. He drew clear down the stretch with an impressive turn of foot to post the 2 1/4-length score over My Boy Prince, who was named the Champion 2-Year-Old Colt in Canada.

Blewitt said Carson’s Run has made all the right impressions so far as a sophomore.

“He’s filled out. He’s gotten a little beefier and I don’t know that he’s grown so much per se, but he’s gotten stronger,” said Blewitt. “He always seemed to have a really good mind in his races last season, and had a devastating closing kick. He’s such a determined horse – we saw that first out at Saratoga, and how relentless he was in the Summer. He’s got the heart and the drive, so let’s see what happens this weekend.”

Bred in Kentucky by Frankfort Park Farm, Carson’s Run is out of the winning Henny Hughes mare Hot N Hectic, a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Rated R Superstar. He was a $170,000 purchase at the OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.

Davis returns to the irons from post 2.

KatieRich Stables, Christopher Connors and Lawrence Appel’s stakes-winning New York homebred Works for Me [post 3, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] makes his second start of the season after a fourth-place finish in an off-the-turf optional claiming tilt in February at Fair Grounds Race Course.

Trained by Joe Lee, the son of Daddy Long Legs rated in third through the first half of the 5 1/2-furlong sprint over fast footing and inched closer to be within 1 1/2 lengths of the lead at the top of the stretch. He battled on gamely down the lane, but just missed show honors by a nose while three lengths behind the victorious Drewmania, who finished second in the Lafayette at Evangeline two starts later.

Works for Me looks to build upon a prosperous juvenile campaign that was topped by a win in the state-bred Notebook sprinting six furlongs in November here. He graduated at second asking in his first start for Lee in June at Belmont ahead of an off-the-board effort in the Funny Cide presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital at Saratoga, and a runner-up finish in the off-the-turf Futurity 6 1/2 lengths back of Group 3-placed Book’em Danno.

Works for Me returns to the turf for the second time in his career, his lone outing over the lawn producing a career-best 84 Beyer Speed Figure when a pacesetting third, beaten a half-length, in the six-furlong Atlantic Beach in November here.

Thomas Albrecht, Vincent Fusaro and James Klein’s stakes-placed New York-bred The Big Torpedo [post 5, Eric Cancel] tries turf for the first time since November off a close runner-up finish in a local state-bred optional claimer.

“He has just been a remarkably cool colt to train,” trainer Tom Morley said. “I’ve always believed that he is going to be a better grass horse than he is a dirt horse, and he ran extremely well on debut sprinting on the turf. All winter I’ve been looking for an excuse to give him a bit of a break, but he continues to improve every month physically and mentally, and has given us no indication that was on his agenda.”

The Big Torpedo finished a good second on debut when sprinting six furlongs on the lawn here, defeated two lengths after a three-wide trip when stalking from fourth-of-10 early. He followed with a valiant troubled-trip effort in the NYSSS Great White Way going seven furlongs over the Big A main track in December where he crossed the finish line fourth but was elevated to third via the disqualification of Brick Ambush from second.

The Big Torpedo makes a statement in breaking his maiden Jan. 13 at Aqueduct (NYRA/Coglianese)

The Big Brown chestnut went on to graduate next out in a 10-length romp when setting the pace in a one-mile state-bred maiden on January 13, but faded to finish a distant fifth next out after employing the same tactics in the one-mile state-bred Gander.

Morley said The Big Torpedo runs his best race from off the pace, evidenced by a marked improvement when a close second last out with a stalking trip in a one-mile optional claimer.

“He will absolutely sit off the pace,” said Morley. “The day he won a maiden special weight on the lead, it was because he was a far superior horse to the opposition. On paper [in the Gander], it looked like we had the fastest horse in the race, but he’s a better horse with a target.”

Morley added The Big Torpedo’s last outing was a helpful learning experience under the guidance of regular pilot Eric Cancel.

“He was a little keen with Eric in the first part of the race, so we tried to give him an education to rate and sit off horses,” said Morley. “He was a little reluctant to do that for a sixteenth of a mile, but I thought Eric did a fabulous job of getting his head dropped and into a nice rhythm behind horses, and that afforded him to finish up the race strongly indeed.”

Bred in the Empire State by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, The Big Torpedo is out of the winning Empire Maker mare U.S.S. O’Brien and has banked $130,900 through a 5-1-2-1 record.

Ridgewood Barns’ Ridgewood Runner [post 1, Luis Rivera, Jr.] looks to rebound from a distant off-the-board finish in the seven-furlong Listed Bay Shore on April 6 here. Trained by Carlos Martin, the son of Klimt entered the Bay Shore off two pacesetting wins, but employed stalking tactics when chasing five-wide and 7 3/4 lengths off the pace through the first half-mile.

Martin said he is looking forward to a return to front-running tactics for Ridgewood Runner, who led each step of the way en route to a seventh-out maiden score and a nose optional claiming triumph here in January and February, respectively.

“Depending on the pace, they might let us put them to sleep there,” said Martin. “We’ll be prominent and take it from there. He ran two good races and put up decent efforts and was going the right way. We took a shot in the Bay Shore and I don’t think he liked the kickback.”

The $110,000 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase has made one start on turf, a fifth-place finish in a six-furlong maiden tilt in September here. He is out of the Speightstown mare Honored Promise, a full-sister to turf graded stakes-winner Recepta and turf stakes-winner Defiant Honor. His third dam, Wings of Grace, produced multiple graded stakes-winning turf mares Plenty of Grace and Soaring Softly.

“He’s bred to like the turf with those really great Darby Dan fillies in his family,” said Martin. “I tried him once on the turf and he just kind of stayed even, but they ran six furlongs quick. He can get a little further on the turf, so I’m hoping with his speed that he can be brave and go all the way.”

Completing the field are the New York-bred Elysian Meadows [post 7, Jose Lezcano], who makes his turf debut on the heels of an off-the-board effort in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott; the stakes-placed Walley World [post 6, Manny Franco] for four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown; and debut maiden winner Good Lord Lorrie [post 4, Flavien Prat], who returns from an eight-month layoff for trainer George Weaver.

The Woodhaven is slated as Race 6 on Saturday’s nine-race card. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.

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