Constitutionlawyer breezes for G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Blue Lion Thoroughbreds, Ken Russell and Taste of Victory Stables’ Monshun returns from a seven-month layoff in Saturday’s $100,000 Cicada, a six-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The daughter of Unified was a sharp 3 1/4-length winner of her lone start, a six-furlong maiden special weight in August at Saratoga Race Course, leading through every point of call.
Monshun drew post 5 in the six-horse Cicada, which trainer Ray Handal said will be to her benefit.
“One thing I like is the outside post, she’s never really had any kickback. Even if she’s not on top, I like that she drew the outside post for this race,” Handal said. “She’s been breezing really sharp. I tried entering in the 1x last week, but it didn’t go. She’s ready to rock and roll. She’s a much bigger and stronger horse than she was.”
A debut victory at Saratoga can speak volumes of a horse’s talent and Handal said her sharp triumph was not unexpected.
“She had touted her hand. She was quick from the gate and seemed precocious,” Handal said. “We had expectations for her to run big that day and she did. It’s always good when they come through like that. She showed us that she had the talent last year. She had a minor injury, and we gave her some time off. She had a chip taken out of her ankle and she’s come back and been great.”
Dylan Davis, who piloted last year’s Cicada winner Just Read It for Handal, will ride Monshun.
Handal has called an audible with Constitutionlawyer, who was scratched out of the City of Brotherly Love on March 8 at Parx Racing. The Constitution colt will now target the Grade 3, $600,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks on April 2 at Turfway Park, which offers 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers.
Constitutionlawyer, a disappointing 11th in the Grade 3 Withers last out on February 5, breezed a half-mile in 48.20 seconds over the Belmont training track on Friday morning.
“He went super sharp,” Handal said. “I’m trying to get him back on the Derby trail somewhat. I thought [the City of Brotherly Love] would be a good steppingstone to something like the Blue Grass. The plan right now is the Jeff Ruby at Turfway. He’s by Constitution and they’re about 50-50 to get the grass, and he has good numbers first time on synthetic sprinting. The problem with targeting the Blue Grass is he might not get in because of earnings, and the Wood Memorial is coming up real tough.”
A maiden winner at third asking, Constitutionlawyer kept good company through the maiden ranks. He finished a distant fourth on debut behind eventual Grade 2 Remsen winner Mo Donegal before stretching out to two turns on December 2 at Aqueduct to finish third behind subsequent Jerome winner Courvoisier. Constitutionlawyer found the winner’s circle when traveling nine furlongs over a muddy and sealed main track on January 2 at Aqueduct.
Aqueduct Racetrack Week 15 stakes probables
Sunday, March 27
$100K East View (NYB)
Probable: Captainsdaughter (Russell Cash), Salsa a Parte (Ray Handal), Silver Fist (James L. Lawrence, II), Stone Creator (Charlton Baker), Yo Cuz (Bill Mott)
Possible: Leeloo (David Duggan), Moam (Horacio De Paz), Sandy’s Garden (Joseph Lee)
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Monshun wins his debut race at Saratoga August 18, 2021 under Joel Rosario. (NYRA/Coglianese)