Pandagate Eyes a Stakes Score in Gander

February 22, 2024

Pandagate romps by nine lengths on debut Oct. 13 at Aqueduct (NYRA/Coglianese)

By Keith McCalmont – NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Pandagate returns to the scene of his impressive maiden score in Sunday’s $100,000 Gander, a one-turn mile for New York-bred sophomores, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Christophe Clement for owners Adelphi Racing Club, Madaket Stables, Corms Racing Stable and On The Rise Again Stable, the Arrogate ridgling was a nine-length debut winner under returning rider Dylan Davis while traveling the Gander distance in October here against fellow state-breds.

Last out, the $130,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Preferred New York-bred Yearling Sale purchase stepped into open company in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claiming event on December 9 at Laurel Park and overcame a troubled start to finish third behind the victorious Regalo, who exited that effort to finish fourth here in the Jerome.

“He broke a bit slow last time, but I’m not sure [if that’s an excuse]. He’s a better horse today,” Clement said.

Pandagate has since wintered in Florida at Payson Park Training Center where he breezed five-eighths Saturday in 1:01.80 in company with well-regarded maiden winner Deterministic.

Pandagate, bred by Fred W. Hertrich, III, is out of the stakes-placed Sky Mesa mare Kitty Panda, who is a half-sister to graded stakes-placed Akilina. Both Kitty Panda and Akilina were trained by Clement.

“I trained the whole family. They’ve all been good and can run on turf or dirt,” Clement said. “He’s by Arrogate, so he should be better as it gets longer and he gets older. He’s a tall, leggy horse. It’s exciting. Let’s go.”

Davis has the call from post 4.

Doc Sullivan makes it back-to-back wins with an allowance optional claiming score Jan. 19 at Aqueduct (NYRA/Coglianese)

Tristar Farm’s Doc Sullivan has won 2-of-3 starts, both with David aboard, while competing exclusively against fellow state-breds at the Big A ahead of his stakes debut for trainer Michael Miceli.

The Solomini colt graduated at second asking in December traveling six furlongs over a muddy and sealed main track and followed by garnering a field-best 82 Beyer Speed Figure when stretched out to one-mile in an optional-claimer on January 19 to best Brick Ambush by seven lengths.

Miceli said the sizable Doc Sullivan appreciated the added distance last out.

“He enjoyed that. It gave him a little more time to get his momentum going without having to be rushed,” Miceli said. “He responded well in that race. Each race has been an improvement, so he’s moving in the right direction. He’s doing well and hopefully he’ll be a contender in there.

“He’s a good-sized horse. He’s 16.3 hands close to 17 hands,” Miceli added. “He’s out of a Giant’s Causeway mare and they do their best running going long, so he’s got the distance on both sides.”

Bred by Seamus Coughlan, the $59,000 OBS June 2-Year-Olds and HRA Sale purchase is out of the winning Giant’s Causeway mare Queen Frostine, who is a half-sister to stakes-placed Cibolo. Doc Sullivan’s third dam, Clever But Costly, produced multiple graded stakes-winners Sun King and Ocean Drive.

Miceli said Doc Sullivan has improved with training.

“Once we started to get to the bottom of him and drill him, he showed us that he had some talent and class to him,” Miceli said.

With Davis committed to Pandagate, Trevor McCarthy will pick up the mount from post 2. The veteran rider was aboard for a half-mile breeze in 51.02 seconds over the Belmont Park dirt training track on February 8.

Third time’s the charm for The Big Torpedo (NYRA/Coglianese)

Thomas Albrecht, Vincent Fusaro and James Klein’s The Big Torpedo [post 1, Eric Cancel] avenged a troubled trip when elevated to third in the NYSSS Great White Way by posting an emphatic gate-to-wire 10-length romp over 10 rivals in a local one-mile state-bred maiden on January 13.

With Eric Cancel up over the muddy and sealed surface, the Big Brown chestnut set the tempo from post 4 through splits of 23.49, 46.72 and 1:12.67 en route to an in-hand score in a final time of 1:38.56 that garnered a 73 Beyer.

Bred by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, The Big Torpedo is out of the stakes-winning Empire Maker mare U.S.S. O’Brien.

Thummps Racing Stable, Peter Jacoutot, and Paradise Farms Corp.’s Liberty Central [post 6, Jose Gomez] graduated at fifth asking last out on February 3 here in a seven-furlong state-bred sprint over muddy and sealed footing.

Trained by Pat Quick, the Central Banker chestnut had completed the exacta on three previous outings, including a six-furlong sprint in December here in which Doc Sullivan finished 2 3/4-lengths back in third.

Bred by Thummp’s Racing Stable, Liberty Central is out of the Mass Media mare Liberty Fuze.

Rounding out the field are maiden winners Brown Don’t Stop [post 3, Isaac Castillo] for trainer Orlando Noda, and the Herold Whylie-trained Bali Amour [post 5, Richard Mitchell].

The Gander is slated as Race 8 on Sunday’s nine-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.

@jonathanstettin @bbopjz Fantastic writing, thoroughly enjoyable read.

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