11/01/2013 1:34PM

Aqueduct: Debut winners get stakes test in Nashua

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Manhattan Johnnie enters the Nashua Stakes off a 5 1/2-length maiden win Sept. 21 at Belmont.

Cairo Prince and Manhattan Johnnie, two of the more impressive debut winners of the Belmont fall meeting, head a field of 12 juvenile colts and geldings set for Sunday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct.

The Nashua, run as a one-turn mile and a stepping-stone to the $400,000 Remsen Stakes on Nov. 30, heads a nine-race card that also includes the Grade 3, $250,000 Tempted Stakes for juvenile fillies.

Cairo Prince, a son of Pioneerof the Nile, won his debut by 2 3/4 lengths Oct. 6. He stalked the pacesetting Yankee Dime and easily held off 2-5 favorite Harpoon. He ran six furlongs in 1:10.21 and earned an 84 Beyer Speed Figure.

“We were expecting him to run really well,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “Todd [Pletcher] had a big favorite who looked like he would be tough to beat. [Cairo Prince] just sat a beautiful trip. He always looked like a winner.”

McLaughlin’s horses often run better second time out. This horse is stretching out to a mile and breaks from post 12, none of which should be problematic for the colt.

“The pedigree says he should like [the distance], and the 12 shouldn’t be problem because of where we start,” McLaughlin said, referring to the fact that it’s a one-turn race. “There’s a long run to the first turn.”

Manhattan Johnnie will break from one slot inside of Cairo Prince. A son of Roman Ruler, Manhattan Johnnie was most impressive in galloping to a 5 1/2-length debut victory over a sealed, sloppy Belmont main track Sept. 21. He ran six furlongs in 1:12.01 and earned an 86 Beyer.

“All of his works prior to his first start were on a fast track,” trainer Eddie Kenneally said. “We weren’t sure what might happen on a wet track. I feel he’s as good or better on a dry track.”

Manhattan Johnnie is out of the unraced mare Fancy Deed, who is a half-sister to the multiple Grade 1 winner Midnight Lute. Though Midnight Lute was better sprinting, Kenneally said he believes Manhattan Johnnie will be better “as the distances get longer.”

Jose Lezcano will ride Manhattan Johnnie.

Pletcher has the uncoupled entry of Intense Holiday and Master Lightning. Intense Holiday, a son of Harlan’s Holiday, won a maiden race at Monmouth Park before finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at 40-1.

“I thought his race in the Champagne was a little better than it looks on paper,” Pletcher said. “He’s a colt that’s still learning.”

After finishing second to Mosler in his first start, Master Lightning won a 1 1/16-mile maiden race at Belmont on Oct. 5.

“Both of his races have been good,” Pletcher said. “In his maiden win, he showed he’s got some fight to him. He fought off some challenges. This is the next logical step.”

Louisiana Flyboy was purchased privately by Robert LaPenta following a 6 3/4-length debut win at Louisiana Downs in August. He was sent to trainer Chad Brown. Louisiana Flyboy breaks from the rail.

Protonico, a 12 3/4-length winner at Delaware on Sept. 7; Noble Moon, a debut winner at Belmont for Leah Gyarmati; and Tiznowforamerica, who returns to dirt following a last-place finish in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on Polytrack; also look to be contenders in this field.