Why Why Paul Why hopes to streak through $100K Jazil

January 20, 2022

Gustavo Rodriguez takes early lead in Under 20s Claiming Challenge

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – JKX Racing’s Why Why Paul Why brings a four-race win streak at Parx into Saturday’s $100,000 Jazil, a nine-furlong test for older horses at the Big A.

He will be trainer Penny Pearce’s first stakes starter at Aqueduct since Market Maven finished eighth in last year’s Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino.

Why Why Paul Why was claimed for $30,000 out of a sixth-place finish in June at Churchill Downs and has subsequently posted a record of 6-5-1-0 for new connections. 

The 5-year-old Archarcharch bay launched his streak on September 8 in an optional-claiming tilt and continued with a four-length score in an off-the-turf allowance on September 28. He then romped to a 7 1/4-length score in a one mile and 70 yard optional claimer ahead of a post-Christmas score last out on December 28 in the one mile and 70 yard Kris Kringle.

“He’s really turned out to be an outstanding animal since he got here. One day, he went out there and got away and two-minute licked the day before the race and still won by four the next day,” Pearce said.

Pearce said Why Why Paul Why will appreciate the stretch out in distance.

“He likes the two turns. He’s just a racehorse. His type are very rare,” Pearce said.

Out of the Whywhywhy mare Precious Beauty, Why Why Paul Why was bred in Kentucky by Patchen Wilkes Farm.

Listed at 9-2 on the morning-line, Kendrick Carmouche will pilot Why Why Paul Why from the inside post.

Photo above: Why Why Paul Why and Kendrick Carmouche capture the $100,000 Kris Kringle at Parx Racing on December 28, 2021. (Barbara Weidl/EQUI-PHOTO)

Gustavo Rodriguez takes early lead in Under 20s Claiming Challenge

Trainer Gustavo Rodriguez has accumulated 26 points through January 13 to lead the way in the Under 20s Claiming Challenge at the Big A winter/spring meets, which is open to local trainers with 20 or fewer horses nationwide.

Rodriguez, who has earned two wins this meet with Noble Thought on December 9 and American Gentleman on January 8, most recently earned five points when Good Culture put in a determined late run to be runner-up in a one-mile $40,000 claimer on January 16. 

“The owner [Novak Stable] was very happy with it,” Rodriguez said of Good Culture’s effort. “A lot of owners just want to win, so it’s nice when they’re happy to finish second and third too.” 

Rodriguez went out on his own last year after working as an assistant to his brother, Rudy Rodriguez. Since his first start on June 27 last year, Rodriguez has won eight races and currently cares for a string of 15 horses. 

“It’s been a lot of hard work and I could have started a little earlier, but it is what it is,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve been around horses for a long time. My owners really pushed me to go out on my own and I said, ‘You know what, I have to do it.’” 

The Under 20’s Claiming Challenge, launched in 2018, began December 9, Opening Day of the Aqueduct winter and will come to a close at the conclusion of the 15-day Big A spring meet, on Sunday, April 24.

The top-eight trainers in the contest will share a prize pool of $80,000, with the winner receiving $16,000. Stall allotments for the Aqueduct winter meet, along with those at the Saratoga and the Belmont fall meets, are used to determine eligible trainers.

A total of 26 trainers signed up for the Under 20s Claiming Challenge in which conditioners earn points based on their horses’ performances in all winners’ claiming races on the main track at Aqueduct from December 9 through the end of the Big A spring meet. 

Not all horses will be eligible for the contest, and only roster horses can earn points. A trainer may replace a claimed horse who was on their roster with another claimed horse. After a horse is claimed, it will be added to the trainer’s roster only at the trainer’s request.

Horses in for a tag in an allowance optional claiming race will qualify for contest points. Points are not earned in maiden, allowance, starter allowance or stakes races.

Contest Point Structure:
Dirt Races – All claiming races for winners, including horses in for an optional tag:
1st Place – 6 points
2nd Place – 5 points
3rd Place – 4 points
4th Place – 3 points
5th Place – 2 points

Turf Races – All turf claiming races for winners, including horses in for an optional tag:
1st Place – 5 points
2nd Place – 4 points
3rd Place – 3 points
4th Place – 2 points
5th Place – 1 points

Trainer Bonuses:
The top-eight trainers in the contest will share in a prize pool of $80,000:
1st Place – $16,000
2nd Place – $14,000
3rd Place – $12,000
4th Place – $11,000
5th Place – $9,000
6th Place – $7,000
7th Place – $6,000
8th Place – $5,000

Under 20s Claiming Challenge 2021-2022 Aqueduct Winter Meet
Unofficial Standings through 1/13/22
1. Rodriguez, Gustavo, 26
2. Simmonds, Michael, 23
3. Barrera, Oscar III, 20
4. DiPrima, Gregory, 13
5. Clarke, Dylan, 12
6. McAllen, John, 11
7. Barker, Eddie, 10
8. Trites, A Land, 9
9. Avila, A.C, 8
10. Jones, Eduardo, 8

Past winners of the Under 20s Claiming Challenge:
2021 Belmont spring/summer – Mertkan Kantarmaci
2020-21 Aqueduct winter – Mertkan Kantarmaci
2019-20 Aqueduct winter – Eddie Barker/Mertkan Kantarmaci (tie)
2019 Belmont spring/summer – Mertkan Kantarmaci
2018-19 Aqueduct winter – Mertkan Kantarmaci2018 Belmont spring/summer – Eddie Barker

For more information, please visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/horsemen/.

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