12/28/2011 4:17PM

Aqueduct: Inherit the Gold looks to rebound in Alex Robb

Barbara D. Livingston
Inner track specialist Inherit the Gold is back in against New York-breds for Saturday's Alex Robb Stakes.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – After finishing second as the 4-5 favorite in the Queens County Stakes three weeks ago, Inherit the Gold returns to New York-bred company when he heads a field of eight entered for Saturday’s $75,000 Alex M. Robb Stakes at Aqueduct.

Inherit the Gold had won five consecutive starts over the inner track before being outfinished by Ron the Greek in the Queens County. Though Ron the Greek won by 2 1/4 lengths, Jim Hooper, the trainer and part-owner of Inherit the Gold, still believes he ran the best horse in the race.

Inherit the Gold prefers to do his best running late in the race, but with pedestrian fractions in the Queens County, Inherit the Gold was up close and raced wide. Hooper felt jockey Cornelio Velasquez should have been a little more aggressive when he decided to move up to the leaders around the half-mile pole. Thus, Hooper is making a rider change for the Alex Robb, replacing Velasquez with Junior Alvarado.

“I didn’t really think I got a very good trip,’’ Hooper said Wednesday at Belmont. “I thought on the inner track going three-wide on the first turn and having him in the open air was not what needed to be done. Between the half and three-eighths pole, I thought we should have moved more aggressively and gone to the front.

“Most importantly the horse still ran a very big race in my opinion,’’ Hooper added. “I still think I had the best horse that day. I think my horse was the best horse.’’

Last winter, Inherit the Gold went 4 for 4 routing over the inner track, including two stakes victories. After winning the Kings Point on the inner, Inherit the Gold took the Grade 3 Excelsior on the main track in April before his five-race win streak was snapped with a seventh-place finish in the Charles Town Classic.

Hooper said he is again targeting the Excelsior, this year to be run March 17 for $150,000 over the inner track. Hooper said he would like to run in the Alex Robb and then the $75,000 Haynesfield Stakes on Jan. 22 as stepping-stones to the Excelsior.

Inherit the Gold will break from post 6 and be one of three horses that will carry 121 pounds. Icabad Crane, last year’s Alex Robb winner, and Groomedforvictory, coming off an overnight stakes win over the main track on Nov. 20, also carry 121 pounds.

The Robb field, from the rail out, is Stormy’s Majesty, Spa City Fever, Tap Attack, Icabad Crane, Midnight Billy, Inherit the Gold, Groomedforvictory, and Uncle T Seven.

Gallant Fox fails to fill

The $75,000 Gallant Fox, which had been run 71 times since 1939, failed to draw enough entries to be carded as scheduled for Saturday. There were only 12 nominations for the Gallant Fox, run at 1 5/8 miles, and only two of those horses were actually entered in the race.

The racing office did not bring the race back for Sunday.

There is a secondary stakes race scheduled for Saturday, the $75,000 Restrainor for New York-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings. Swag Daddy, winner of the Damon Runyon Stakes in his last start, heads the field, which includes Brooklyn Red (2-for-2) and Damon Runyon third- and fourth-place finishers Disco On and Live for Today.

Alex M. Robb S., Post Time: 3:37 ET Saturday

Purse: $75,000; 1 1/16 miles





ML Odds


Stormy's Majesty

D. Galluscio

C. Velasquez



Spa City Fever

P. Kelly

C. Lopez



Tap Attack

R. Persaud

A. Lezcano



Icabad Crane

H. Motion

D. Cohen



Midnight Billy

J. Ortiz

J. Valdivia, Jr.



Inherit The Gold

J. Hooper

J. Alvarado




R. Dutrow, Jr.

R. Dominguez



Uncle T Seven

J. Aquilino

J. Espinoza