Thin White Duke Aiming for Elusive Quality, G1 Jaipur

April 21, 2024

Thin White Duke triumphant in the Harvey Pack Sep. 2 at Saratoga (Chelsea Durand)

Yes and Yes Under Consideration for Elusive Quality

G2 Ruffian the Target for Fingal’s Cave

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NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Dual Grade-3 placed turf sprinter Thin White Duke, trained by David Donk for breeder and former trainer Phil Gleaves, who co-owns with Steven Crist, Ken deRegt and Bryan Hilliard, has been working impressively towards his seasonal debut in the Listed $150,000 Elusive Quality, a six-furlong sprint for older horses on May 4, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Thin White Duke breezed a half-mile Sunday morning in 48.73 seconds over the Belmont dirt training track, 21st-of-188 workers, following last week’s 47.44, which was good for 4th-of-179.

“He’s worked extremely well by himself over the dirt. He is in great form and is ready to run,” said Donk, who last ran him in November’s Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship. “He’ll run in the Elusive Quality in two weeks.”

Last year, Thin White Duke finished fourth in the Elusive Quality before running tenth in the six-furlong Grade 1 Jaipur at Belmont Park. He improved later in the summer at Saratoga Race Course, finishing third in the Grade 3 Troy for the second consecutive year and winning the Harvey Pack, both 5 1/2-furlongs.

Donk said he would ideally take the same route to this year’s Grade 1 Jaipur presented by Resolute Racing on June 8 Belmont Stakes Day at Saratoga, but with more success as the 6-year-old Dominus gelding has taken a liking to the Spa turf.

“He’s had an affinity for the turf course at Saratoga. I would certainly like to do that [route again],” said Donk. “[The location] certainly doesn’t hurt. We are looking forward to it.”

Phil Gleaves, Joseph Straus, Jr., and The Estate of Hugh A. Fitzsimons, Jr.’s Yes and Yes was scratched from Saturday’s 5 1/2-furlong King T. Leatherbury at Laurel Park with Donk electing not to ship. The 8-year-old Sidney’s Candy gelding, a half-brother to Thin White Duke, is now under consideration for the Elusive Quality, which last year he finished second in by a nose.

“He’ll come back in the Elusive Quality, barring there isn’t something else to run him in, we’ll take it race-to-race,” said Donk. “He had an affinity for the Belmont course, so it wasn’t as big a surprise that he ran as well as he did.”

Yes and Yes also next contested the Jaipur, finishing ninth. In subsequent stakes action, he finished second in August’s Select at Monmouth Park and July’s Van Clief at Colonial Downs, before an off-the-board finish in the Belmont Turf Sprint in October.

Fingal’s Cave returns victorious in the Bay Ridge Dec. 28 at Aqueduct (NYRA/Coglianese)

Alifyfe Racing and Mo Speed Racing’s New York-bred Fingal’s Cave will point towards the Grade 2 $200,000 Ruffian, a one-turn mile for older fillies and mares, also on May 4, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The 5-year-old Carpe Diem mare was third last-out in the seven-furlong Grade 3 Distaff on April 6 here, sitting a half-length off the early pace before being overtaken by the victorious Shidabhuti and runner-up Ain’t Broke. The effort came off a layoff dating to a win at one-mile versus state-breds in the local Bay Ridge on December 28.

“She’s doing very well. She’ll work tomorrow. The intention is to run her in the Ruffian,” said Donk. “I think the Distaff was shortening her up. I think she will be better at one mile or farther.”

Fingal’s Cave is 2-for-2 at beyond one mile, winning at nine-furlongs in the Fleet Indian and an open-company allowance as a sophomore at Saratoga. She subsequently finished second in the seven-furlong Grade 2 Raven Run in October 2022 at Keeneland before a more than one-year respite that ended with her Bay Ridge conquest.

Donk said the Distaff showed the New York-bred has what it takes to compete versus graded stakes company again in the Ruffian.

“It was a good race for her. She needed to run, she’ll benefit from the racing,” said Donk. “I think the distance suits her, and the timing. She deserves the opportunity to run there. I’d like to think she’ll move forward off her last race.”

Bred by Chester and Mary Broman, the $75,000 purchase from the 2021 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training is out of the winning Mineshaft mare Barbie On a Budget, who is a full-sister to multiple stakes-winner Mineralogist. Fingal’s Cave’s second dam is Grade 2-winner Seeking the Ante, a half-sister to Grade 1-winner Friends Lake.

Fingal’s Cave boasts an impressive record of 7-5-1-1 with $391,500 in earnings.

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