E.V. Racing Stable’s Eagle Orb, who twice has finished second in stakes company, will look to break through in his Aqueduct Racetrack debut when he competes in Saturday’s $100,000 Notebook for New York-bred juveniles going six furlongs over the main track.
One of two stakes on the 10-race card that also features the $100,000 Artie Schiller for 3-year-olds and up going one mile on the inner turf, the seventh running of the Notebook will feature Eagle Orb looking to build on his runner-up effort against state breds in the one-turn mile Sleepy Hollow on Empire Showcase Day October 24 at Belmont Park.
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez will return the son of Orb back to sprinting, where he won his debut on August 21 going six furlongs at Saratoga Race Course and followed with a runner-up effort by a half-length to next-out winner Thin White Duke in the Funny Cide going 6 ½ furlongs on September 4 at the Spa.
In four starts [1-2-0], Eagle Orb’s only off-the-board finish came in the seven-furlong Bertram F. Bongard, running fifth on October 2 at Belmont. Bred by Barry Ostrager, Eagle Orb’s 74 Beyer Speed Figure last out is the highest in the seven-horse Notebook field. On Saturday, Manny Franco will have the return call from post 4.
“He’s been training pretty good, so we’ll see what he does now,” Rodriguez said. “In the [Bongard], I thought we had him ready to run the seven-eighths, but he didn’t show up. He’s done better since. We’ve been working him nice and easy. He looks good so far.”
Trainer Mike Maker will send out a pair of contenders, including Three Diamonds Farm’s stakes-winner Blue Gator, who is 2-for-2 after winning the New York Breeders’ Futurity last out on October 26 at Finger Lakes.
The son of Liam’s Map, an $80,000 purchase at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale, made his debut with a victory in state-bred maiden sprint on September 25 at Belmont. Bred by Morera Breeding and Racing, Blue Gator will have the services of the Big A fall meet’s leading rider Kendrick Carmouche out of post 7.
His stablemate, William Butler’s Lookin for Trouble, was second in the Bertram F. Bongard, marking the homebred’s second consecutive stakes appearance after earning blacktype with a third-place effort in the Funny Cide on September 4 at the Spa. The Into Mischief colt, broke his maiden at second asking on August 7 at Saratoga. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will pick the mount, drawing post 6.
Horn of Plenty was a debut winner, posting a 1 3/4-length score going 6 1/2 furlongs on October 18 at Belmont. Owned by Kathleen McClay and Norm Porter, the son of Emcee, out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Bugle Call, has continued to train at Belmont, going four furlongs in 48.89 seconds over Big Sandy on November 8.
“He had trained well in the morning and showed a little ability. He was still a little bit raw and a little bit green, but he showed he had some natural talent,” trainer Rob Atras said. “I thought the inside post would be difficult for him to overcome going six and a half, but he did it. I was very impressed with him. I expected a good effort, but I was very impressed with the way he ran.
“He breezed good,” Atras added. “He went easy at the start and then we just let him pick it up down the lane and let him gallop out a little bit. It was a good move. We wanted to make sure we put a decent work into him to go into this race, it’s quite a step up in class.”
Dylan Davis will have the return engagement from post 5.
Half Right, who ran fourth in the Bertram F. Bongard, was transferred into trainer Christophe Clement’s care and will make his first start for his new conditioner. Half Right made his winning debut on August 30 in a race moved off the turf at Saratoga and was kept on the main track in his stakes bow last out.
“I’m still learning about him, but his works have been good,” Clement said. “His form is good, he’s sound and he looks well. He deserves another shot in a stakes.”
Joel Rosario will ride from post 3.
Storm Shooter, a $180,000 purchase at this year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sale for MyRaceHorse Stable, broke his maiden at second asking in an off-the-turf sprint on October 29 at Belmont. The Todd Pletcher trainee will make his first stakes start, drawing post 1 in tandem with Jose Ortiz.
Market Alert, conditioned by James Ryerson, won his first start on June 19 at Belmont before running seventh in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on August 7. He will make his third straight stakes appearance after running fourth in the Funny Cide in September. Jose Lezcano will be aboard from post 2.
The Notebook is slated as Race 7 with a post time of 2:45 p.m. Eastern. First post is 11:50 a.m. America’s Day at the Races will present daily television coverage of the Aqueduct fall meet with coverage to air on FOX Sports and MSG Networks.
NYRA Press Release Edited/ Photo NYRA