Dr. Blute Aims to Wrap Up Year by Doubling up on Stakes Scores

December 14, 2022

Dr. Blute wins the Empire Classic Oct. 30 (Janet Garaguso)

By Ryan Martin – NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Flanagan Racing’s Dr. Blute will try to wrap up the year by doubling up on stakes scores in Saturday’s $100,000 Alex M. Robb for New York-breds 3-year-old and upward going a one-turn mile at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Dr. Blute, a 4-year-old chestnut gelding by leading third-crop sire Not This Time, arrives off a sharp winning effort against fellow state-breds in the nine-furlong Empire Classic on October 30 at Belmont at the Big A for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. Despite being fractious in the gate, Dr. Blute broke on top and led throughout, holding his advantage to a three-quarter length victory over late-closing Curlin’s Wisdom. The triumph came following a career-best 92 Beyer Speed Figure going the Alex M. Robb distance at allowance optional claiming level on September 18 at Belmont at the Big A which he won by 6 3/4 lengths.

Dr. Blute began his career with trainer John Kimmel, graduating by 5 3/4 lengths on debut in February 2021 in a local six-furlong maiden special weight. He had never gone past seven furlongs until joining Joseph, Jr.’s stable over the summer and stretched out to one mile out of the Spa’s Wilson Chute, finishing a narrow second to dual stakes-placed Best Idea.

“He always had speed. I think the extended distance and stretching him out helped him use his speed in a better manner,” Joseph, Jr. said. “Instead of going 22 [seconds] and 45, he’s able to go 23 and 47. He’s able to save a little more so the distance is definitely key to helping him improve.”

Bred in the Empire State by Hidden Lake Farm and Axle Ahlschwede, Dr. Blute is out of the Friends Lake mare Truss, who is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Khancord Kid – the dam of 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Bar of Gold.

Edgard Zayas will pilot Dr. Blute from post 8.

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez will saddle The Elkstone Group’s horse-for-course Wudda U Think Now, who brags a 9-5-2-0 record at the Big A, led by a pair of six-furlong scores that garnered 104 Beyer Speed Figures, including a 10 1/2-length victory in an allowance optional claimer in January which came on the heels of a victory in the Hollie Hughes.

Sidelined following the Hollie Hughes, the 5-year-old Fast Anna gelding made his second start off the layoff a winning one when capturing the John Morrissey in August at Saratoga Race Course.

The Alex M. Robb will be Wudda U Think Now’s first start going one mile since March 2021, when capturing a local allowance optional claimer by 1 1/4 lengths.

“I think he can handle the mile. It’ll be a little challenging because there are some nice horses going in there. He for sure loves Aqueduct and I think he enjoys the winter, he really gets himself together this time of year,” Rodriguez said.

Wudda U Think Now was bred by Mina Equivest and is out of the Unbridled Jet mare Unbridled Grace, who has produced four other six-figure earners.

Dylan Davis will ride Wudda U Think Now from post 7.

Trainer Mike Maker holds a strong hand in the form of multiple stakes-winning sophomore Barese [post 5, Manny Franco] and multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Somelikeithotbrown [post 4, Jose Lezcano].

Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Barese has enjoyed a productive sophomore season which includes three stakes victories. The son of Laoban captured the Rego Park on January 9 going 6 1/2 furlongs on the heels of a successful stretch-out to a one-turn mile in the Gander on February 12. Three starts following a fifth-place finish behind subsequent American classic winners Mo Donegal and Early Voting in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 9 at the Big A, he captured the New York Derby on July 18 at Finger Lakes by four lengths before finishing second in the Albany on August 26 at Saratoga.

He finished third in the Empire Classic, finishing one length behind Dr. Blute, and enters off a close second in the open-company Discovery on November 27 at the Big A.

Barese, bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds and Lakland Farm, is out of the Successful Appeal mare Right Prevails – a full-sister to 2005 Kentucky Derby runner-up Closing Argument.

Somelikeithotbrown wins the West Point (NYRA/Coglianese)

Skychai Racing and David Koenig’s Somelikeithotbrown is the only horse in the field to boast millionaire status, having banked $1,684,518 through a record of 30-10-7-4. The Big Brown 6-year-old, bred by Hot Pink Stables and Sand Dollar Stables, has won a graded event every year since 2019, most recently capturing Kentucky Downs’ Grade 3 Mint Million in September, which followed a six-length coup in an off-the-turf edition of the West Point presented by Trustco Bank at Saratoga. Somelikeithotbrown enters the Alex M. Robb off 13 days’ rest after finishing second to follow New York-bred millionaire Bankit in the NYSSS Thunder Rumble.

Ten Strike Racing and Four Corners Racing’s Sea Foam strives to protect his title in the Alex M. Robb for trainer Michelle Giangiulio. The 7-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro, bred by Waterville Lake Stables, made his seasonal debut in August at the Spa with a nose loss to Bankit in his title defense of the state-bred Evan Shipman.

Sea Foam, who adds blinkers, enters off a fourth in the Empire Classic, where he was beaten 1 1/2 lengths.

Carmouche retains the mount from post 6.

Rounding out the field are Market Alert [post 1, Jorge Vargas, Jr.], Three Jokers [post 2, Jose Gomez], and Perfect Munnings [post 3, Javier Castellano].

The Alex M. Robb is carded as Race 8 on Saturday’s 10-race card, which features three other stakes events, including the $100,000 Bay Ridge, the $500,000 NYSSS Fifth Avenue and the $500,000 NYSSS Great White Way. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of the Aqueduct fall meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.

NYRA Bets is the best way to bet every race of the Aqueduct Racetrack fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.

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