El Grande O Preps for G3 Gotham

February 23, 2024

El Grande O takes the Sleepy Hollow Oct. 29 at Aqueduct (NYRA/Coglianese)

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— El Grande O, a New York homebred for Barry Schwartz, worked five-eighths in 1:02.91 Thursday over the Belmont Park dirt training track in preparation for next Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham. The one-turn mile for sophomores offers 50-25-15-10-5 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.

Trained by Linda Rice, the Take Charge Indy colt worked in company with recent maiden claiming winner All the Rage.

“They stayed together for a half-mile and then El Grande O took over and went five-eighths and out six furlongs on his own. Just a very modest breeze in 1:02 and 3 and out in 1:15 and 2,” Rice said. “He’s doing well. We were waiting for a good track and we got a good one yesterday and got a breeze into him. That will be his last breeze before the race.”

El Grande O, a half-brother to the graded stakes-placed Malibu Moon mare Meal Ticket, is out of the stakes-placed Unbridled’s Song mare Rainbow’s Song. He has banked $399,000 through a record of 10-3-5-1 topped by state-bred wins here in the seven-furlong Bertram F. Bongard in September and one-mile Sleepy Hollow in October.

El Grande O has made his last two starts here in open company, finishing a prominent second in both the one-mile Jerome after stumbling at the start on January 6 and the nine-furlong Grade 3 Withers on February 3 when defeated a nose to Uncle Heavy.

Rice said the versatile colt, who graduated sprinting five furlongs on the turf in June at Belmont Park, was also under consideration for the 1 1/8-mile Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 6 at the Big A.

“We discussed if we wanted to run in the Gotham or wait for the Wood and decided that as long as the horse was in good shape, we’d go ahead and run him,” Rice said. “He’s a horse that thrives on racing and he has fitness and experience on his side.”

@jonathanstettin Great article!

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