Joey Freshwater makes the grade in the Bay Shore (G3) April 8 at Aqueduct (Janet Garaguso)
Sheriff Bianco, Curlin’s Wisdom Probable for $200K Commentator Handicap
$125K Bouwerie Next for Downtown Mischief, Les Bon Temps
Arctic Arrogance Eyes Summer Campaign at The Spa
NYRA Press Office
ELMONT, N.Y.— Trainer Linda Rice, who has had great success recently when running horses on short rest in stakes races, will wheel back Joey Freshwater on eight day’s rest in Saturday’s $150,000 Paradise Creek, a seven-furlong turf sprint for sophomores, at Belmont Park.
Rice saddled Betsy Blue to victory in the Garland of Roses off one week’s rest in December at Aqueduct Racetrack and Mommasgottarun to a triumph in the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap with just five days of rest in April over the Ozone Park oval. She will look to continue that trend on Saturday as Joey Freshwater returns from a third-place finish in the Gold Fever on May 12 here.
Winning Move Stable’s son of Jimmy Creed was a rallying third in the six-furlong Gold Fever over the main track where he was bumped at the start and raced four-wide into the turn to make a mild bid down the center of the lane. He was defeated 6 1/4 lengths by the undefeated Drew’s Gold, but earned the second-highest Beyer Speed Figure of his career when garnering an 83.
Joey Freshwater made the grade two starts back when he captured the Grade 3 Bay Shore on April 8 at the Big A. Rice claimed him for $50,000 out of a second-out maiden victory in November at Churchill Downs and has enjoyed a perfect in-the-money record with the colt in five starts since. He is out of the More Than Ready mare Lake Turkana, who broke her maiden traveling 1 1/16 miles over the Laurel Park turf in 2016. Lake Turkana is a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Crewman, winner of the 2017 Grade 3 Hanshin Cup over Arlington Park’s all-weather surface.
Rice said Joey Freshwater’s breeding led her to believe he’ll relish a change in surface.
“We haven’t breezed him on the turf, but frankly I think there’s enough pedigree there,” said Rice. “He’s out of a More Than Ready mare and Jimmy Creed is a Distorted Humor, so I think there’s enough there to suggest it. His mother won on the grass.”
With rain in the forecast for Saturday, Rice said Joey Freshwater will stay in the race even if the course holds decent moisture.
“Ideally, I’d prefer if it rains that they take it off the turf,” said Rice. “But if they don’t, I still want to try him on it.”
Joey Freshwater will exit post 8 in rein to Jose Lezcano, who returns to the saddle for Friday’s card at Belmont after being sidelined with a wrist injury since early April.
Rice has a talented quartet lined up for the May 29 Big Apple Showcase Day at Belmont, which features six New York-bred stakes races worth a combined $900,000. Rice has probable starters in two of the stakes, led by the duo of Sheriff Bianco and Curlin’s Wisdom in the $200,000 Commentator Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile main track route for horses 3-years-old and up.
A. Bianco Holding Limited’s Sheriff Bianco was the latest Rice trainee to contest stakes company on short rest, but fell short of Today’s Flavor by 3 3/4 lengths in the state-bred Affirmed Success on April 30 at the Big A one week after an optional-claiming victory.
The son of Speightster was claimed for $30,000 out of a win in July at Belmont and has been a model of consistency since, hitting the board in each of his 11 starts for Rice. His best performance was a dominant 11 3/4-length score in an off-the-turf state-bred optional claimer in October at Belmont at the Big A. He followed with an additional pair of wins in allowance tilts, including against open company in December at Aqueduct.
“We claimed him last July and he’s been great for us,” said Rice. “It’s the first horse I claimed for John Bianco and he’s been wonderful.”
Martin Zaretsky’s Curlin’s Wisdom finished second in a state-bred optional claimer on April 16 last out. The 4-year-old son of Curlin earned a stakes placing when finishing a close second in the nine-furlong Empire Classic in October. Rice said Curlin’s Wisdom has been “doing well” since his last effort and is on track for the Commentator.
Rice will also saddle stakes winner Downtown Mischief and multiple stakes-winner Les Bon Temps in the $125,000 Bouwerie, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies.
Downtown Mischief, owned by Lady Sheila Stable, suffered her first career defeat last out in an off-the-turf edition of the Memories of Silver on April 29, finishing 3 3/4 lengths behind Balpool after pressing a moderate tempo. The daughter of Into Mischief won her first three starts, including the Cicada against open company in March at the Big A.
Lady Sheila Stable, Pura Vida Investments, Cindy Hutson and Brett Setzer’s Les Bon Temps crossed the finish line second in the NYSSS Park Avenue on April 23, but was elevated to first after a stewards’ inquiry determined Little Linzee, who crossed the wire first, interfered with Les Bon Temps in the stretch. It was the third stakes score for Les Bon Temps, who previously won the NYSSS Fifth Avenue and the Maid of the Mist, both at Aqueduct.
“Downtown Mischief is a speed horse and Les Bon Temps is a stalker, so they’re a good complement to one another,” Rice said.
Rice said Les Bon Temps, a daughter of Laoban, will use the Bouwerie as a springboard to a try over the turf in the $150,000 NYSSS Cupecoy’s Joy at seven furlongs on June 18.
“Les Bon Temps won the Stallion Series race, so we’ll come back here and then take her to the Stallion Series race on the grass,” said Rice. “The Laobans have been terrific on the turf, so I’ll go there with her after. The Bouwerie is an in between spot.”
Among Rice’s nominees to the Big Apple Showcase stakes was Chester and Mary Broman’s multiple graded stakes-placed Arctic Arrogance, who was considered for the $125,000 Mike Lee at seven furlongs over the main track. Rice instead decided to give the son of Frosted a freshening with an eye towards the Saratoga Race Course summer meet after a winter campaign that saw him finish second in the Grade 2 Remsen, Jerome and Grade 3 Withers at the Big A.
“We decided to give him a little break,” said Rice. “He’s been running for a long time and he just seemed a little flat, so we’ll pass on the Mike Lee.”