Water’s Edge Back to Work for Donk; Shinfull Victorious in 4YO Debut

January 19, 2023

Water’s Edge wins the Haynesfield (Susie Raisher)

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Empire Equines’ stakes-winning New York homebred Water’s Edge, who has not raced since winning the $100,000 Haynesfield last March at Aqueduct Racetrack, returned to the work tab on Tuesday for trainer David Donk, recording his first breeze since April. The son of Candy Ride, who was gelded during the respite, breezed an easy three furlongs in 38 seconds flat over Belmont Park’s dirt training track.

“He’s come back and had a real slow breeze,” said Donk. “We two-minute licked last week and then did the easy three-eighths this week, so he’s good. It will be fun to get him back.”

Donk said the now 5-year-old Water’s Edge lost a step in his training after an illness last year, but has returned this year with better energy and more focus.

“He got really sick early last summer and then when he went back to training, he just wasn’t doing as well and wasn’t happy, so he got a lot of time off,” Donk said. “He’s gelded now because he needed to be gelded to be turned out. The last few weeks, he’s really jumped back to where he was before.”

The consistent Water’s Edge has posted four wins and four runner-up efforts through eight lifetime starts, capped by a dominant pacesetting victory in the aforementioned Haynesfield where he drew off with ease down the lane to defeat stakes-winner Chestertown by 4 1/4 lengths.

Donk said he is content to take his time with Water’s Edge.

“When he’s ready, he’s ready. It will be a little while,” said Donk. “He doesn’t have much in conditions, so he’ll have to be ready because he’ll be in with some pretty good company. Hopefully, it all goes well.”

Donk is also hopeful that the Empire Equines’ Ormstown, a half-brother to Water’s Edge, will show similar talent and class to his sibling. The sophomore son of Bernardini is steadily making his way towards the races, most recently breezing a half-mile in 50 seconds flat on Tuesday.

“Ormstown is a lot like him,” said Donk. “He’s a ways away from running, but it’s interesting to have the family.”

Shinfull wins an allowance Jan. 13 (NYRA/Coglianese)

Last month, Donk took over training duties for a string of horses from recently retired trainer Rick Schosberg, including Shinfull, owned and co-bred by Vivien Malloy’s Edition Farm. The 4-year-old daughter of A Shin Forward made her first start for Donk a winning one when scoring a determined head victory in a 6 1/2-furlong first-level state-bred allowance on January 13 at the Big A.

Ridden to victory by Kendrick Carmouche, Shinfull pounced from off the pace to duel with Backed by Gold through the turn and down the stretch before narrowly defeating her foe in a final time of 1:19.50. The effort garnered a 65 Beyer Speed Figure.

“She’s a really scopey, rangy filly with a really lovely walk,” said Donk. “She ran well and I think she kind of did what she had to do. I think there was more left in the tank, but she got the job done. We’ll probably try to stretch her out because of her scope, and she’ll probably come back at a mile. It was a fun win and I appreciate Rick and Vivien giving me the opportunity.”

Donk will look to score another Big A victory this weekend with Alifyfe Racing and Scott Mawaka’s well-bred Fast Boat to Skye, who finished second at second asking in a six-furlong maiden on December 16 here. The grey son of Cairo Prince boasts a strong female family with his dam, the winning Creative Cause mare Cause She’s Fast, being a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winner and 2012 Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can.

Fast Boat to Skye is entered in Saturday’s ninth race, a one-mile maiden special weight that drew 10 entrants. Donk said a stretch out in distance may be the key for Fast Boat to Skye, whose other start was a seven-furlong sprint where he finished a distant seventh. He posted the bullet for 26 works on Tuesday at Belmont, covering a half-mile in 48.85 seconds.

“He’s really nice. His pedigree probably says he wants to stretch out,” said Donk. “It’s not going to be an easy race. It might be January, but these maiden races are pretty stiff. It’s a big field. He ran well last time off of being gelded. He acted horribly his first time out and he’s made a huge transformation as a gelding. It’s really helped him and it’s as big a change as I’ve seen in a horse in a long time. I’d be curious if he’s a grass horse one day – the dam’s side doesn’t really say that, but a lot of Cairo Princes run on the grass. I know he has ability.”

Jorge Vargas, Jr., who Donk teamed up with to win two races on the January 12 card here, will ride Fast Boat to Skye from post 9.

Another promising maiden for Donk is Robert Spiegel’s Register, who finished a closing second on debut in a six-furlong maiden sprint over a sloppy and sealed Big A on January 6. The 3-year-old Super Saver ridgling breezed back on Tuesday, covering a half-mile in 49.95 over the Belmont training track.  

“He didn’t get the cleanest of trips and was second,” said Donk. “He’ll come back next Saturday and I’m looking forward to running him. He’s real classy and a good work horse.” 

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