OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Darlene Bilinski’s Senbei will strive for superiority amongst his New York-bred juvenile counterparts in Sunday’s $100,000 Notebook, a six-furlong main track sprint at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Christophe Clement, the Candy Ride chestnut attempts his third stakes victory in only five starts. He was a sharp four-length victor in the New York Breeders’ Futurity on October 14 at Finger Lakes ahead of Sunday’s engagement.
Following a gate-to-wire maiden victory over a muddy and sealed main track at Saratoga Race Course in July, he once again commanded through every point of call when capturing the Funny Cide neatly six weeks later at the Spa.
As the only horse in the Notebook field to reach the six-figure earnings mark, Senbei has banked a total of $309,857 through a 4-3-1-0 record.
Clement said a turnback in distance from a runner-up effort in the seven-furlong Bertram F. Bongard in September at Belmont was beneficial.
“He’s been training well since his last race,” said Clement, who won the 2017 Notebook with Sea Foam. “Cutting him back in distance helped. He’s doing very well.”
Senbei was bred by Dr. Jerry Bilinski and was acquired for $280,000 at the 2020 Keeneland January Sale. He is out of eight-time winner Sweet Aloha, who also produced New York-bred stakes winners Filibustin and Indy’s Lady.
Manny Franco, the pilot in all four starts, will retain the mount from post 4 as he seeks his third Notebook score.
Gary Barber’s Cool Laoban, bred by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, will make both his stakes and main track debut for Hall of Famer Mark Casse.
The son of Laoban finished fourth behind next-out stakes-placed Geno on debut going six furlongs in October at Belmont. He followed one month later by rallying from six lengths off the pace to break his maiden at the same distance over the Belmont inner turf.
“He’s probably a better grass horse,” Casse said. “Obviously, grass racing is coming to an end up north so we’re seeing what he can do. We’re hoping for a big effort from him.”
Should Cool Laoban display an affinity for the main track, Casse said the horse could be transferred to trainer Chris Englehart for the winter, much like he did with fellow Gary Barber color bearer Make Mischief last winter.
“If he runs well enough, we’ll probably leave him up there. If not, he’ll come to Ocala for the winter and get ready for the spring,” Casse said.
Breaking from post 1, Cool Laoban will be ridden by Dylan Davis.
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez eyes his third straight Notebook triumph with E.V. Racing’s Bali’s Shade after saddling Dream Bigger and Eagle Orb to respective victories the past two years.
The son of Bal a Bali overcame a five-month layoff when breaking his maiden at second asking by two lengths going six furlongs on October 22 over the Belmont main track.
Jose Lezcano will ride from post 5.
Robert Hahn’s Daufuskie Island will make his debut for trainer Kelly Breen after finishing a distant third to Senbei in the New York Breeders’ Futurity last out. The bay son of Goldencents, previously trained by Jeremiah Englehart, seeks a return to winning form, having broken his maiden by five lengths on debut in August at Saratoga.
Jose Ortiz, a two-time Notebook winning rider, will have the call from post 2.
Completing the field are last out maiden victors Bustin Pietre [post 3, Kendrick Carmouche] and Kenner [post 6, Ruben Silvera].
The Notebook will be carded as Race 3 on Sunday’s 10-race program. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Press Release
Photo: Senbei ( NYRA Photo)