Today’s Flavor wins the off-the-turf Belmont Turf Sprint Oct. 7 at Aqueduct (Joe Labozzetta)
By Keith McCalmont – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Reddam Racing’s multiple stakes-winning New York-bred Today’s Flavor will be in search of his eighth win in little more than one calendar year in Sunday’s $125,000 Thunder Rumble division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, a seven-furlong sprint for eligible New York-sired 3-year-olds and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Today’s Flavor attended a swift pace and faltered to last-of-7 last out in the state-bred 6 1/2-furlong Hudson over muddy and sealed footing on October 29 here.
That effort was a departure for the 5-year-old Laoban bay, previously conditioned by Doug O’Neill in California, who has won 7-of-11 starts since joining trainer George Weaver’s barn last November.
“He’s won seven races in one year, basically. He loves his job and he loves being a racehorse,” said Weaver’s New York-based assistant Blair Golen. “He’s breezed excellent since and is doing well. I’m happy with him.”
Today’s Flavor, bred by Joseph Calvo, won his first four starts for Weaver at the Big A, culminating in a 6 1/2-length open allowance romp in February. He subsequently set the pace in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets here in April and finished a strong fourth, defeated 1 3/4-lengths by the victorious Doppelganger. Three weeks later, he came back to win the Big A’s state-bred Affirmed Success at six furlongs over sloppy and sealed footing.
“He ran hard in the Carter. He never gave up and then ran right back and won that stake,” Golen said.
Following a pair of off-the-board efforts, including a fourth in the Grade 2 True North in June at Belmont, Today’s Flavor returned to the win column in an open optional-claimer on the Big A turf on September 22 when a head better than next out Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship-winner Nothing Better. He won the off-the-turf Belmont Turf Sprint on October 7 ahead of his last out Hudson try.
“He ran and won on the turf and we got lucky that it rained off the turf when we wheeled him back in two weeks,” Golen said. “Last time, I think wheeled back in two weeks and then wheeled back in three weeks again might have been a little too much.”
Golen said Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who has piloted Today’s Flavor through each of his last three outings, should be able to work out a good trip from post 8.
“He’s a very rideable horse,” Golen said. “Javier will be able to get up on the lead and do what he feels is best. Even if someone comes up and challenges him, it’s never bothered him in the past.”
Trainer Mike Maker will send out a pair of top contenders in Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s multiple stakes-winner Barese [post 5, Manny Franco] and Nice Guys Stables, Jay Oringer, Al Bianchi Racing and Steve Hornstock’s four-time winner Be the Boss [post 7, Dylan Davis].
Barese, a 4-year-old Laoban bay bred in the Empire State by Sequel Thoroughbreds and Lakland Farm, has banked a field-high $533,127 through a record of 17-6-2-3 led by state-bred stakes scores in last year’s Rego Park, Gander and New York Derby as well as a 3 1/4-length romp in the Genesee Valley Breeders’ in September at Finger Lakes.
A winner at distances ranging from five-furlongs to 1 1/16-miles, Barese will look to make amends from a distant seventh-place finish last out in the nine-furlong Empire Classic contested over muddy and sealed going on October 29 here. He benefits from an 8-2-1-2 record at the Big A.
Be the Boss, a 4-year-old Laoban bay bred in New York by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, sports a ledger of 17-4-4-2 and enters from a 4 3/4-length state-bred allowance score on November 10 here sprinting 6 1/2-furlongs.
He endured a pair of heartbreaking losses over the summer at Saratoga in state-bred allowance sprints, defeated a nose in August by eventual Empire Classic-winner Straight Arrow and a head in September by the streaking next-out allowance winner Win for Gold.
Seacoast Thoroughbreds of New England’s multiple graded stakes-placed New York-homebred General Banker [post 3, Eric Cancel] enters from a rallying half-length score in a state-bred allowance sprint here on October 15 over a muddy and sealed main track.
Trained by James Ferraro, the Central Banker sophomore has accrued $481,943 in purse earnings through a record of 15-2-3-3 that includes a memorable graduation in last year’s lucrative $500,000 NYSSS Great White Way.
With Eric Cancel up in the seven-furlong sprint over muddy and sealed going, General Banker stalked from fourth-of-11 and vaulted into the lead at the stretch call en route to an 8 1/2-length score that garnered a career-best 83 Beyer Speed Figure.
He posted consecutive third-place finishes against open company here in the Jerome, Grade 3 Withers and Grade 3 Gotham before a troubled 10th-place finish in the local Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino.
Rounding out the field are graded stakes-placed Vacation Dance [post 9, Romero Ramsay Maragh] for trainer John Kimmel; multiple stakes-winner Lobsta [post 1, Heman Harkie] for conditioner Rachel Sells; the Rudy Rodriguez-trained stakes winner Jemography [post 4, Ruben Silvera]; and allowance winners Callaloo [post 2, Jose Gomez] for trainer David Donk and Niagara Skyline [post 6, Kendrick Carmouche], who ships in from Woodbine for trainer John Charalambous.
The NYSSS Thunder Rumble is slated as Race 8 on Sunday’s nine-race card which also features the $125,000 NYSSS Staten Island in Race 7. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.