Review of Gotham Stakes (GIII) at Aqueduct on March 09

The Gotham Stakes is a one-mile race for three-year-old held in Queens, New York, at Aqueduct. The Grade III event is part of the Championship Series on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, with the top four finishers earning qualifying points (50-20-10-4) toward a berth in the Run for the Roses. The Gotham’s 2019 purse is $300,000 and the winner is practically guaranteed a spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby.

Race 10. Gotham Stakes (GIII). For three-year -old at 1  mile on dirt. Purse $300,000.

PP Horse Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Family Biz Kendrick Carmouche Edward Barker 20/1
2 Knicks Go Jose Lezcano Ben Colebrook 12/1
3 Mind Control John Velazquez Gregory Sacco 9/2
4 Much Better Mike Smith Bob Baffert 5/1
5 Haikal Rajiv Maragh Kiaran McLaughlin 10/1
6 Instagrand Javier Castellano Jerry Hollendorfer 4/5
7 Not That Brady Reylu Gutierrez Rudy Rodriguez 12/1
8 Tikhvin Flew Dylan Davis Steve Asmussen 20/1

Mind Control  won on New Year’s Day the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct. He is a Grade I. He had a very rough trip when he finished seventh in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI). He broke his maiden in August at Monmouth Park, then won the Hopeful Stakes (GI) in September at Saratoga. He returns to where he ran in his first start. He has posted seven workouts at Belmont Park since his Jerome victory. He should be forwardly placed.

Instagrand is the morning line favorite in his 3-year-old debut. He debut with a is maiden special weight win by 10 lengths, He then won the six-furlong Best Pal at Del Mar in a 10 1/4-length victory. Instagrand, who left California early Wednesday morning, worked four furlongs in :47 4/5 Tuesday at Santa Anita. He is inexperienced but should finish in top two.

Much Better had a third-place finish in the January 5 Sham Stakes (GIII) at Santa Anita. He also recorded a front running victory on February 9, an optional-claiming allowance race.

Not That Brady enters the Gotham off a career-best effort when finishing second on February 2, defeated by a head, in the Withers (Grade III).  The front-runner  was claimed for $50,000 out of his August 23 debut at Saratoga and after a pair of starts in off-the-turf maiden races, he broke his maiden on December 8 at Aqueduct. He then went gate-to-wire to win his stakes debut in the restricted Damon Runyon. He set a strong pace in the Withers and battled gamely down the lane to finish second. The pace will determine where he lands. He should be in top six.

Knicks Go has a record of 2-1-1 from seven career starts including winning by 5 1 /2 lengths on October 6 at Keeneland the Breeders’ Futurity at odds of 70-1. He is making his first start since February 9. He finished fifth as the 9-5 favorite in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (GIII).  He needs to find his 2018 ability to be competitive in this race.

Haikal will look to move forward three races , all decided by a neck. After finishing second on his November 10 debut, he returned with a winning effort to break his maiden at Aqueduct on December 15 in a six-furlong sprint. Last out, Haikal demonstrated a strong closing kick to win the seven-furlong Jimmy Winfield in his stakes debut. He needs a fast pace to have a chance down the lane. He should finish on the board.

Much Better broke his maiden in his debut on September 1 on the Del Mar dirt. After finishing second in the Zuma Beach on the Santa Anita turf, he finished last  in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He returned to dirt for his 3-year-old debut on January 5 finishing third in the Sham at Santa Anita and followed up with a front-running win going 6 1/2 furlongs in an optional claiming race at Santa Anita.  He will be a factor at the wire.

Tikhvin Flew enters the Gotham from his third-place finish in the Jimmy Winkfield. His other race was on January 4, a race he broke his maiden at Aqueduct on January 4. He is moving up in class but has a chance of being on the board.

Family Biz finished third in the Jerome after being bumped at the gate. He ran poorly finishing fourth in his last race the Jimmy Winfield.  He is moving up in class. He should not be a factor at the wire.

Our Top Three Picks:

  • Instagrand – Our Best Bet of the Day
  • Mind Control
  • Much Better

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