Howgreatisnate in Good Order Following Eventful G3 Gotham

March 5, 2023

Howgreatisnate takes the Future Stars at Parx Dec. 5, 2022 (EQUI-PHOTO)

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Imaginary Stables’ Howgreatisnate arrived home to Fair Hill, Maryland, in good order after stumbling at the start of Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham.

Trained by Andrew Simoff, the stakes-winning Speightster sophomore was undefeated in four starts heading into the one-turn mile Kentucky Derby qualifier, but saw his streak end as the gates opened, unseating jockey J.D. Acosta and completing the course before being collared by the outrider.

“He was fresh and a little too eager and he outbroke himself coming out of the gate. He pushed so hard his front feet went underneath him and he just went down,” Simoff said. “He came out OK. He got a little scrape on his pastern and we’re keeping an eye on it, but other than that he looks good. If he’s good in the next two or three days and there’s no issues or inflammation, I’ll look to run him right back.”

Acosta, who said he was kicked in the helmet by Howgreatisnate, walked off under his own power and visited with EMS. He booked off his two mounts today at Laurel Park and is scheduled to ride again on Tuesday at Parx.

“I’m a little sore, but nothing too bad,” Acosta said. “I’ll take today off and rest up and feel better for the next couple days.”

Howgreatisnate entered from a 3 1/2-length victory in the six-furlong Future Stars on December 5 following a trio of winning efforts at Delaware Park that included a score in September in the First State Dash, a sprint restricted to Delaware-bred or certified juveniles at the Wilmington oval.

Simoff said he was hopeful a good Gotham effort could propel Howgreatisnate onto bigger races like the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino which offers 100-40-30-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.

“If he had run fifth or sixth yesterday, I could deal with it and say he’s not what we thought. We were trying to get a line on him to see if he could compete with the bigger horses,” Simoff said. “Now that I didn’t get that opportunity, it’s hard to figure out what to do next. Had he run second or third, the Wood would be a no brainer.”

One option for Howgreatisnate could be the nine-furlong Federico Tesio on April 15 at Laurel Park.

“We’re considering everything right now,” Simoff said. “We might go to Maryland in a few weeks, and if he runs well there then we can get back to a bigger race.”

While the Gotham was lost in the first stride, Simoff took some consolation in seeing his horse get back into the race, albeit riderless, with a wide move to take command and run down the lane with the eventual winner Raise Cain.

“As bad as it was, it was kind of funny at the eighth pole when that horse went to run by him and he dug back in to run with him,” Simoff said. “It looked like he was pulling up, but when he saw that horse on the outside he dug back in. I was proud of him for that.

“It’s a tough break, but we’ll keep going,” added Simoff. “I’ve been in this game a long time and every once in a while, it’s your turn for some heartache and yesterday was my turn. That’s the way it goes.”

Howgreatisnate, out of the Tapit mare Bee Dees Bid, was purchased for $67,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

@jonathanstettin Well done per usual. A true horseplayer who can articulate nicely #keepitup.

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