NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds’ Circling the Drain will step up in class from an impressive maiden waiver-claiming score when he makes his stakes debut in Saturday’s $150,000 Jerome, a one-turn mile for sophomores at Aqueduct. The Jerome, a Kentucky Derby qualifier, offers 10-4-3-2-1 points to the top-five finishers.
Trained by Brittany Russell, the Maryland homebred son of West Coast graduated at second asking, while protected, in his two-turn debut on December 9 traveling 1 1/16-miles over a Laurel Park main track rated good.
With Feargal Lynch in the irons, the bay gelding made every pole a winning one en route to a seven-length score that garnered a 70 Beyer Speed Figure. The victory came on the heels of a runner-up effort sprinting seven furlongs in a maiden special weight on November 20 at Laurel.
“We ran him seven-eighths first time basically because that’s how it came up and he was ready,” said Russell, who led all trainers with 29 wins at the recently concluded Laurel Park fall meet. “He ran fine that day but we always thought a mile or more would be what he would like. He’s a horse everyone has liked along the way and has always done things right.”
Russell said she was hoping to bring Circling the Drain back in an allowance tilt which failed to fill, but feels confident her charge will perform well in his stakes debut.
“The horse has been training well and he’s sitting on ‘go,’ so we thought why not take a swing,” Russell said.
Circling the Drain breezed back on December 29 at Laurel under jockey Jevian Toledo, blitzing a bullet half-mile in company in 48 flat as the fastest of 26 works at the distance on the day.
“He worked really nicely. He galloped out well and came out of the work bouncing,” Russell said.
Circling the Drain, a half-sibling to stakes-winner Who’s in Town, is out of the graded-stakes placed Cozzene mare Who’s Cozy. He will exit post 2 under Toledo with a 12-1 morning-line assessment.
Russell said she is hopeful Toledo can work out a stalking trip in a field that features the stretch-out speed of Andiamo a Firenze.
“There’s sprinters in there coming out of sprints, so I’d like to see him sit a comfortable trip and not be too far out of it,” Russell said. “Hopefully, he comes running when it counts.”
Russell has another talented Maryland-bred sophomore on her hands in Hillwood Stable’s Post Time, who is undefeated in three starts all at Laurel Park.
The Frosted colt, an $85,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling Sale, graduated in an off-the-turf 5 1/2-furlong sprint on October 7 and followed up on October 27 with a 6 3/4-length romp in a seven-furlong optional-claimer that garnered a career-best 84 Beyer. Last out, the impressive grey rallied from last-of-7 and made a wide move to win the Maryland Juvenile by 3 3/4-lengths on December 3 over a muddy and sealed main track.
Although initially under consideration for the Jerome, Russell said Post Time will target the seven-furlong Spectacular Bid on January 21 at Laurel.
“He’s doing fantastic,” Russell said. “We’ll run him here at home in January and if that goes well, we’ll think about taking a shot somewhere.”
Bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Dr. Brooke Bowman and Milton P. Higgins III, Post Time is out of the graded-stakes placed Fairbanks mare Vielsalm.