Slip Mahoney breaks his maiden at third asking Jan. 21 (NYRA/Coglianese)
Plans for Eyeing Clover Uncertain
Hit Show Remains Possible for Wood Memorial
Capella Back to Two Turns, Ashland or Gazelle Are Possibilities
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Gold Square’s Slip Mahoney earned a 78 Beyer Speed Figure for his runner-up finish to 23-1 winner Raise Cain in Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham, a one-turn mile for sophomores, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by two-time Eclipse Award-winner Brad Cox, who also sent out the pace-pressing fourth-place finisher Eyeing Clover, Slip Mahoney earned 20 qualifying points towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and will likely point to the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 8 at the Big A, a 100-40-30-20-10 qualifier.
“Both horses came back good,” said Cox. “Slip Mahoney will point for the Wood there. He obviously ran well and hopefully he gets a way better stretch run and doesn’t leave himself so much to do.”
Slip Mahoney, ridden by Trevor McCarthy, broke a step slow from post 10 in the 14-horse field and trailed in 13th through the first half-mile. He improved to eighth at the top of the stretch while racing eight-wide in pursuit of Eyeing Clover and subsequent winner Raise Cain, who made an inside rally from 11th and showed an impressive turn of foot down the center lane under Jose Lezcano. Slip Mahoney gained with each stride down the stretch and surged past Eyeing Clover, but could not collar Raise Cain and settled for second 7 1/2 lengths back.
The Gotham came on the heels of an impressive third-out graduation on January 21 over the same distance and oval where he dueled strongly throughout with Crupi and bested him by a head at the wire. The Gotham was Slip Mahoney’s first start facing winners and his second over a muddy and sealed track.
“Overall, I thought for the first time facing winners, it was a positive race,” Cox said. “I never expected him to be that far back. Hopefully he gets a little better trip and a little better position in the Wood.”
Ten Strike Racing, Michael Kisber and Colin Reed’s Eyeing Clover arrived at the Gotham from a dominant six-furlong optional claiming victory in pacesetting fashion on January 28 at Fair Grounds Race Course where he defeated six rivals by 9 3/4 lengths. He battled for the lead in the Gotham with Recruiter and Carmel Road before tiring and finishing fourth, nine lengths back of Raise Cain.
“I’m not sure what we’re going to do with him yet,” Cox said. “I’m not certain how far he wants to go, so we’ll just regroup and come up with a game plan here in the near future.”
Cox also trains Gary and Mary West’s Hit Show, who captured the Grade 3 Withers traveling nine furlongs on February 11 at the Big A. Cox said the son of Candy Ride, who has breezed back twice at Fair Grounds since his victory, remains possible for a return to the Big A in the Wood Memorial.
Earlier on Saturday’s card, Cox sent out Juddmonte’s Kentucky homebred Capella to a game third-place finish in the $200,000 Busher in her first career outing over the main track. The daughter of Quality Road entered with two wire-to-wire victories in as many starts over the Turfway Park synthetic going a two-turn mile.
Ridden by Florent Geroux in the Busher, Capella showed new tactics and was held 1 1/4 lengths off the pace in fourth as Asset Purchase and Ziaerati raced in tandem through splits of 23.54 seconds and 47.75. Capella came under a ride in the turn as Asset Purchase put away Ziaerati and was two lengths in front with an eighth of a mile to the finish. Shidabhuti rallied past Capella and a retreating Ziaerati down the center of the track to reel in Asset Purchase at the sixteenth pole and drew away to a two-length victory as Capella settled for third 3 1/4 lengths back.
Cox said he would prefer to bring Capella back around two turns in either the Grade 1, $600,000 Ashland at Keeneland or the Grade 3, $250,000 Gazelle at the Big A. Both races are slated for nine furlongs on April 8 and will award the top-five finishers 100-40-30-20-10 qualifying points towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.
“She came back good,” said Cox. “I’m not sure the plan with her either, but we want to get her back around two turns for sure. I don’t know if that means the Ashland or the Gazelle, but those are two races we’ll look at.”