OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Flanagan Racing’s G Munning will make his stakes debut in his first start against winners when he contests Sunday’s $100,000 Rego Park for New York-bred sophomores sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs over the main track at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by John Kimmel, G Munning was a $275,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training last March after he posted a furlong at the under-tack show in 10.1 seconds.
Eight months later, the son of Munnings made a winning debut for Kimmel in a state-bred maiden special weight going six furlongs on November 19 at Aqueduct.
“I took my time with him as he had some minor developmental issues,” said Kimmel. “I gave him the summer to prepare and just let him go easy.”
Ridden by Jose Ortiz in his debut, the chestnut colt was bumped at the start and broke fourth in the field of nine. Ortiz guided G Munning along the rail and quickly asked him to hustle to the front, opening a length on Built to Last in second and leading the field through an opening quarter-mile in 22.75 and a half-mile in 47.04.
Rounding the turn, G Munning went a bit wide and was met with a challenge from eventual runner-up Bold Journey, matching strides down the lane and making G Munning dig in under strong urging from Ortiz. Coming down to the sixteenth pole, G Munning drew away, breaking his maiden by a length in determined fashion.
G Munning, bred in New York by Clark Brewster and Gold Square, earned a 78 Beyer Speed Figure for his maiden score.
“I think he was a little green in his debut, but he will move forward from that effort,” said Kimmel. “[Ortiz] came back and told me he could run all day. We plan to run him longer going forward, so the extra half-furlong on Sunday won’t bother him at all.”
G Munning’s victory over Bold Journey was flattered when Bold Journey returned in his next start to dominate a maiden special weight by 6 3/4 lengths at Aqueduct [83 Beyer] on December 18, soundly defeating a field of 11 foes.
“Bold Journey coming back to win in his next race was good,” Kimmel said. “It was nice to see [G Munning] defeated a good horse. Turning back his challenge down the stretch showed us he’s learning and that will help him going into this race.”
In his final prep for the Rego Park, G Munning breezed a half-mile over a muddy training track at Belmont Park in 49.07, the eighth best time of 90 works that day.
“He’s been working in company and did so in his last work,” Kimmel said. “He’s been breezing well.”
Jose Ortiz will ride again from post 2.
Parkland Thoroughbreds’ Agility will also be making his first start since breaking his maiden, entering the Rego Park off a one-length maiden special weight victory going 6 1/2 furlongs at Aqueduct on December 5.
Agility’s maiden win came on the heels of a fourth-place debut going seven furlongs at Belmont Park in November, stalking the pace and tiring after taking the lead in the stretch to be nosed out of third at the wire.
Edgar Estevez, assistant to trainer Jorge Abreu, said turning back a half-furlong in his next start made the difference for the son of Practical Joke.
“You try to always go the way of the horse’s ability and Jorge decided to cut the distance a bit and it definitely was a plus for us,” Estevez said. “His latest work went really good.”
Estevez said Agility, who raced close to the pace in his victory, will take a slightly more conservative approach in the Rego Park.
“It all depends on how they break,” said Estevez. “But we like to come off the pace and that was our instructions to the jockey. Last time, he pressed the pace a little faster and this time we want to be a little further back. We want to teach the horse some patience.”
Agility was bred in the Empire state by Hidden Lake Farm, 3C Thoroughbreds, and West Point Thoroughreds, et al.
Kendrick Carmouche gets the call from post 8.
Multiple stakes-placed Daufuskie Island will be making his first start since a third-place effort in the Notebook at Aqueduct in November, where he was well-beaten behind the accomplished Senbei, but valiant in his battle for second and losing place honors by just a half-length to Bustin Pietre.
The son of Goldencents had three stakes placings as a juvenile, his best finish a nose defeat in the Aspirant at Finger Lakes in September going six furlongs against fellow state-breds. Daufuskie Island closed out his juvenile campaign with a third in the New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes along with his Notebook effort.
A homebred for Robert G. Hahn, Daufuskie Island will be making his second start for trainer Kelly Breen after moving from the barn of Jeremiah Englehart. A win in the Rego Park would be the first for the bay colt since his five-length maiden score on debut at Saratoga Race Course in August.
Daufuskie Island will exit post 7 with Jose Lezcano in the irons.
Barese enters the Rego Park looking to make a winning comeback in his first start off an eight-month layoff. Trained by Mike Maker, the son of Laoban has been on the bench since his debut maiden score on May 21 at Belmont where he won by a half-length with an off-the-pace ride from jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Owned by Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher and bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds and Lakland Farm, Barese will be stretching out to 6 1/2 furlongs after running five-eighths in his debut. The bay colt has shown promise in the mornings, posting bullet works in four of his last five drills at Belmont, including his latest where he breezed five furlongs in 1:01.55.
Dylan Davis will pilot Barese from post 5.
Rounding out the field for the Rego Park are maiden winners Always Charming [post 1, Eric Cancel] and Cut the Cord [post 3, Jorge Vargas, Jr.], stakes-placed Unique Unions [post 4, Manny Franco], Notebook fourth-place finisher Bali’s Shade [post 6, Trevor McCarthy], and Tin Cup Chalice winner Doin’ittherightway [post 9, Kevin Navarro].
The Rego Park, named for the historic neighborhood in central Queens, will be renewed for the sixth time in Race 8 on Sunday with a 3:50 p.m. Eastern post. First post for the nine-race card is 12:20 p.m.
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 https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Press Release
Photo: Aqueduct (NYRA Photo)