Ozone Park, NY – Grade 3 Fall Highweight winner Hopeful Treasure could return to the Big A for another graded stakes engagement in Saturday’s seven-furlong Grade 3, $150,000 Toboggan for older horses in what will be NYRA’s first graded stakes event on the calendar year.
The six-furlong Fall Highweight provided a first graded stakes victory for both Hopeful Treasure as well as for trainer Michael Catalano, Jr., who is based at Parx Racing.
While the Toboggan is a logical option for the son of Oxbow, Catalano, Jr. said Hopeful Treasure could ship to Laurel Park for the $100,000 Fire Plug, also to be run Saturday.
“We’re between two races, there and Laurel,” Catalano, Jr. said. “I’m not sure which way we’re going to go. We’re going to see how the races are shaping up and pick the right one.”
Hopeful Treasure has worked twice at Parx since his Fall Highweight coup, most recently working an easy half-mile in 51.47 seconds on Wednesday. Catalano, Jr. said he was tempted to run him once more last year but backed off the horse and didn’t work him at all in December.
“We tried to give him enough time so he wouldn’t regress, and I think he’s ready,” Catalano, Jr. said.
Owned by Tony Como’s Just In Time Racing, Hopeful Treasure was bought for a frugal $6,000 by original trainer Michael Pino, who conditioned the horse through three wins in his first eight career starts.
Transferred to Catalano, Jr., Hopeful Treasure picked up three more victories including a 1 ¾-length allowance score at Parx four weeks prior to the Fall Highweight.
“He’s matured both mentally and physically and he trained really, really forward into both of his last races. It just seemed like he was ready to jump forward,” Catalano, Jr. said.
Aqueduct Racetrack Week 7 stakes probables
Saturday, January 29
Grade 3 Toboggan
Probable: Happy Medium (Michelle Nevin)
Possible: Chateau (Rob Atras), Drafted (David Duggan), Hopeful Treasure (Michael Catalano), Jaxon Traveler (Steve Asmussen), Repo Rocks (Juan Vazquez)
Sunday, January 30
$100K Jimmy Winkfield
Probable: Beast Or Famine (Penny Pearce), Dance Code (Juan Vazquez), Hagler (Rudy Rodriguez), Life Is Great (Robert Klesaris), Morello (Steve Asmussen), Witty (McLane Hendricks)
Possible: H P Moon (Lacey Gaudet)
NYRA Notes/NYRA Press Office
Photo: Hopeful Treasure wins the Fall Highweight / NYRA