Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Pantofel Stable and Blue River Investment Partners’ Shotski, trained by Jeremiah O’Dwyer, scratched out of Saturday’s Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs and will instead point to the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen set for Saturday at the Big A.
“The race yesterday came up tough and with the track going to be as awful as it was because of the forecasted weather, it made sense for us to skip that and take a shot at the Remsen a week later,” said O’Dwyer.
Silver Prospector posted a mild upset in a sloppy renewal of the Kentucky Jockey Club that saw Grade 1 Champagne-winner Tiz the Law finish third.
Shotski, a bay son of Blame, graduated at second asking when sprinting six furlongs on the Laurel Park main track on October 3 and followed up with a good fourth in the Street Sense at one mile on October 27 at Churchill Downs.
O’Dwyer said Shotski, who breezed five furlongs in 1:02.20 on Saturday at Laurel under Sheldon Russell, is training well into the nine-furlong Remsen, which offers 10-4-2-1 qualifying points towards the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby May 2 at Churchill Downs.
“He breezed good on the weekend and seems to have come out of it in good shape this morning,” said O’Dwyer over the phone from Laurel. “As long as the next few days are good, we plan on coming up there.”
A modest $25,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale, Shotski’s second dam, the stakes-winning Fortune Pending, produced Grade 3-winner Palmeiro and the multiple stakes-winner Slews Final Answer.
Shotski was set enter the April OBS, but O’Dwyer arranged to purchase the colt privately for Blue Devil Investment Partners. The current ownership group bought in following Shotski’s impressive maiden score.
“I bought him privately off the farm and I’m very happy with him. I saw down in Florida for the March sale in Ocala and I saw him training on the farm and I made an offer before he went into the April sale,” said O’Dwyer. “We were able to bring him along and train him the way we wanted. After he broke his maiden here, we got some offers for him and I’m glad that Mr. Barber, Mr. Wachtel and the other partners left him in training with me.”
O’Dwyer, a native of Ireland, galloped horses for trainer Al Stall, Jr. for a period in 2010, the year Shotski’s sire Blame captured the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic for Stall.
“He had a presence about him and I just loved the horse from day one. He’s a nice, solid horse and looks a lot like Blame,” said O’Dwyer. “I never got to sit on Blame but I used to ride his work partner and I’d see him in the barn and he had a nice demeanor and presence about him. This horse has a lot of those qualities as well. I’m not saying he’s as good as Blame, but he’s improving with every run and is lightly raced and I’m hoping he’ll give a good account of himself and get bigger and stronger as a 3-year-old.”
Last out, Shotski finished 2 1/4-lengths back of South Bend in the Street Sense and O’Dwyer said the added furlong in the Remsen should help.
“I was pleased with that effort. He’s a laid back horse and if you watch the replay, he was off the bridle a long way out but he was still going,” said O’Dwyer. “A lot of that is down to greenness and being a baby, but I think he’ll travel a lot better in the Remsen. He seems to have taken a step forward mentally. He travels better when in behind horses with horses carrying him along. He’s grown up a lot and I think you’ll see a different horse this time.”
Shotski will ship in to Aqueduct the day before the Remsen.