Hit Show after his romp in the G3 Withers (Janet Garaguso)
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Following a triumphant stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Withers at Aqueduct Racetrack, Gary and Mary West’s Hit Show will remain in New York at trainer Brad Cox’s Belmont Park division to train for his next start.
Hit Show, a gray son of Candy Ride, earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure for his 5 1/2-length conquest of the nine-furlong test under jockey Manny Franco, earning 20 points towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 6 at Churchill Downs. He entered the Withers from a sharp victory against winners on December 17 going a two-turn mile at Oaklawn Park. Initially entered in the Grade 3 Southwest on January 28 at the Arkansas oval, Cox called an audible with Hit Show and sent him to New York for the Withers.
“He looked good this morning. He cooled out well yesterday and came back in good shape,” said Cox’s Belmont-based assistant Dustin Dugas. “He was at the front of the stall, and bright eyed this morning. We’re happy with him and he was happy with himself.”
While all options are currently on the table for Hit Show, Cox said he would strongly consider the nine-furlong Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 8 – the final local Kentucky Derby qualifier, which offers 100-40-30-20-10 points to the top-five finishers.
“He’s always been a horse that we thought would be better with more ground based off pedigree, how he runs and what he’s shown us in his races,” Cox said. “I think we obviously look at the Kentucky Derby and one race between now and then. What race that is, I don’t know yet. It very well could be the Wood Memorial. He obviously likes the racetrack there and we’ll see how things go.”
A second generation Kentucky homebred, Hit Show is out of the multiple graded stakes-winning Tapit mare Actress, who, in 2017, posted nine-furlong graded-stakes wins in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico Race Course and the Grade 3 Comely at the Big A.
Hit Show is one of 38 Triple Crown-nominated horses under Cox’s care. Another is Gold Square’s Slip Mahoney, who broke his maiden on January 21 going a one-turn mile at the Big A with Dylan Davis in the irons.
The gray son of Arrogate kept good company in his first two outings, finishing fourth in his November debut at the Big A which was won by the Todd Pletcher-trained Litigate, who captured Saturday’s Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs.
He followed in December here with a runner-up effort to the Pletcher-trained Tapit Trice, who exited that effort to romp by eight lengths in an optional-claimer last Saturday at Gulfstream Park that garnered a 92 Beyer.
Cox said Slip Mahoney is on target for the one-turn mile Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham on March 4 at the Big A, a Kentucky Derby qualifying race that awards 50-20-15-10-5 points to the top-five finishers.
“He ran against some really good horses in his last two races,” Cox said. “He held his own and he’s a nice colt. He’s marching towards the Gotham. That’s where he’ll start next, and we’re excited about him. He showed some heart and determination in his last two and I think he’s one that will get better with doing it in the afternoon. He’s been a little tough to get to the races but once he got there, he’s shown up and run every time.”
Slip Mahoney breezed a half-mile in 49.77 seconds over the Belmont training track on Saturday.
“He came back great. He looked good yesterday,” said Dugas. “He’s another one who ate up everything last night and was ready to go this morning. Dylan was on him yesterday and he was happy with it, too.”
Slip Mahoney is out of the Grade 1-winning A.P. Indy mare Got Lucky. His third dam, Get Lucky, produced Grade 1-winner Girolamo and graded stakes winners Daydreaming and Accelerator as well as Supercharger – the dam of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver. All are direct descendants of influential matriarch La Troienne.
Lightning almost struck twice for Cox on Saturday when Qatar Racing’s Everso Mischievous was a close second on debut in a six furlong maiden event for sophomores. Sent to post as the favorite, the Into Mischief bay dueled in the stretch to the inside of longshot Toxic Gray and came up a head shy of victory. He earned a 90 Beyer for the solid runner-up effort.
Dugas indicated that Everso Mischievous, who also is Triple Crown nominated, will likely get better with more distance.
“He’s a nice horse. I think he’s going to be one that goes a little further. Looking back, he needed that race yesterday,” Dugas said. “The horse who won ran on and got the jump on us. Being a first-time starter, our horse didn’t have the kick to jump right back into the bridle, but he came back big. He thinks he won, so we’ll take it.”
Bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms, Everso Dangerous is out of the graded stakes-winning Medaglia d’Oro mare Ever So Clever.