Chateau set to defend title in G3 Tom Fool Handicap

March 2, 2022

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Michael Dubb’s Chateau will look to defend his title in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for older horses at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Tom Fool is one of three stakes on Saturday’s lucrative card which is headlined by the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham, a one-turn mile for sophomores offering 50-20-10-5 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers. The stakes-laden card also includes the $250,000 Busher Invitational, a one-turn mile for sophomore fillies offering 50-20-10-5 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-four finishers. The $125,000 Heavenly Prize Invitational, a one-turn mile for older fillies and mares initially slated for Saturday will be brought back on Sunday’s card.

Trained by Rob Atras, Chateau has not raced since a convincing gate-to-wire score in the six-furlong Gravesend on December 19 at the Big A. The 7-year-old Flat Out gelding was considered for the seven-furlong Toboggan on February 5 but the conditioner opted to wait for this spot.

The dark bay, who boasts a record of 39-8-10-10 with purse earnings of $615,019, has breezed extensively over the dirt training track at Belmont Park, including a half-mile in 50.70 seconds on February 27.

Atras said he is hoping for a big effort from Chateau, who has proven to be a horse-for-course at the Big A where he owns a record of 12-6-2-3.

“It’s been a long wait. Hopefully, it’s worth it,” Atras said. “His last couple works have been pretty good, so we’re hoping for a top effort from him. He can fire fresh and he obviously likes the track here at Aqueduct.”

Atras praised the frontrunning Chateau, who has only finished off-the-board twice in his last 12 starts.

“For a horse that’s been in training for so long, at such a high caliber, it’s impressive that he’s been able to hold his form for this long. He’s doing just as good now as he was last year,” Atras said. “He always tries hard. He’s a little bit one dimensional, but he’s fast enough and has enough ability that he always shows up and gets a piece of it.”

Kendrick Carmouche retains the mount from post 5 aboard Chateau, who was assigned a co-field high 123 pounds.

Vegso Racing Stable’s Florida-homebred Officiating has graduated from maiden to graded stakes winner since last racing at Aqueduct in January 2021.
Previously campaigned by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the 4-year-old Blame colt joined the Saffie Joseph, Jr. stable last summer and has since made six starts at Gulfstream Park, capturing the off-the-turf Bear’s Den at third asking in September.

The versatile bay completed his sophomore season in December with a score over older company in the seven-furlong Grade 3 Mr. Prospector. Last out, Officiating made his seasonal debut with a distant third in the Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper traveling a one-turn mile.

Out of the Dixie Union mare Come a Callin, Officiating is a half-sibling to Grade 1-winner Caledonia Road.

Officiating, to be piloted by Manny Franco, will exit post 3 touting a co-field high 123 pounds.

Three Diamonds Farm’s Prime Factor, a lightly-raced 4-year-old son of Quality Road, made a winning debut for trainer Cherie DeVaux last out, scoring gate-to-wire in a six-furlong allowance sprint on January 23 at Fair Grounds.
Previously trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Prime Factor finished third in last year’s Grade 3 Holy Bull ahead of an off-the-board effort in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, both at Gulfstream Park.

Out of the Bernardini mare Haylie Brae, Prime Factor, a $900,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, was bought for $185,000 at the 2021 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.

Prime Factor, assigned 118 pounds, will emerge from post 4 under Jose Lezcano.

Rounding out the field are Repo Rocks [post 1, Ruben Silvera, 119 pounds], and Timeless Bounty [post 2, Trevor McCarthy, 119 pounds].

The Tom Fool is slated as Race 3 on Saturday’s 10-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit

NYRA Aqueduct Press Release

Photo: Chateau (CD Photo)

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