03/28/2011 3:24PM

Aqueduct: Inherit the Gold will try to transfer form to main track in Excelsior Stakes

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Inherit the Gold will make his graded stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – After going 4 for 4 over Aqueduct’s inner track this winter, the New York-bred Inherit the Gold will attempt to transfer that form to the main track when he makes his graded stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Excelsior Stakes.

After Inherit the Gold won the Kings Point Stakes on March 12, trainer and part-owner James Hooper said he was going to investigate the possibility of sending his 5-year-old gelding to West Virginia for the $1 million Charles Town Classic on April 16. But Hooper’s original plan was the Excelsior, provided Inherit the Gold was up to running back in three weeks.

“The horse came back around, he’s ready to go,” Hooper said Monday. “The race looks like it’s going to be a relatively short field, and if I ever was going to try a graded, open race with him, this looks like the time to do it.”

Inherit the Gold won two allowance races and the Mr. International Stakes and the Kings Point – both for New York-breds – convincingly during the inner track season. In the Kings Point, Inherit the Gold won by two lengths over Yawanna Twist, the 2010 Gotham runner-up to whom he was spotting six pounds.

On Saturday, Inherit the Gold is likely to face a field that includes Arson Squad, Goombada Guska, Modern Cowboy, More Than a Reason, Understatement, and possibly Schoolyard Dreams.

Inherit the Gold is 5 for 6 over the inner track and 0 for 2 over the main track, with a second- and a third-place finish. Both of Inherit the Gold’s races over the main track came around one turn.

“I don’t really think the inner track is the big issue, I think two turns is the big issue,” Hooper said. “He’s an even-paced horse, he’s a 12-second [per furlong] horse, he doesn’t like to be asked to go faster than 12 seconds at any point, but he can go 12 seconds I think for a long, long time.”

While Hooper has obviously enjoyed watching Inherit the Gold win his last four races quite handily, he expressed some interest in seeing what his horse would do if he got into a fight in the stretch.

“As much as I like watching him win by two or three, there’s a part of me that wants to see what he can deliver when somebody heads him,” Hooper said. “Can we turn that 100 [Beyer Speed Figure] to a 105?”

More Than a Reason, who has not run since Feb. 26 – which for him constitutes a layoff – worked six furlongs in 1:14.56 on Monday morning over Belmont Park’s training track.

Stormy’s Majesty not ready for Excelsior

Trainer Dominic Galluscio had considered bringing the Grade 3 stakes-winning New York-bred Stormy’s Majesty back in the Excelsior but said the horse needed more time and less distance for his 4-year-old debut.

Stormy’s Majesty won the Grade 3 Discovery over the main track on Nov. 20 and then was beaten a head by More Than a Reason in the Queens County on Dec. 11. Shortly thereafter, he headed to Gulfstream, where he has breezed four times.

Galluscio said Stormy’s Majesty missed a week of training due to a foot bruise. Also, he thought the 1 1/8 miles of the Excelsior “might be a lot to ask off a layoff, though he did win going a mile off a six-month layoff, but that was against easier competition.”

Galluscio said Stormy’s Majesty was due to ship up from south Florida on Tuesday.

Admiral Alex has small setback

Admiral Alex, the horse who tried to go from debut victory to the Travers in one month, arrived at Belmont Park last Friday, but he is not preparing to run in the Grade 1 Carter on April 9 as owner/trainer Leon Blusiewicz had hoped.

Admiral Alex will need to be out of training for at least 10 days due to an ankle injury, Blusiewicz said. Admiral Alex had spent the winter at a training center in Camden, S.C., and had six breezes, according to Blusiewicz. He was hoping to work him out of the gate between races at Aqueduct on Friday but had to scrap those plans when he noticed filling in an ankle.

“After he worked last week, I looked at him and there was filling, so I had to back off him,” Blusiewicz said. ``He’s a bigger, stronger horse than he was last year. I can’t believe how he went from 3 to 4, he’s huge.”

Blusiewicz said he would like to try and make the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 30 with Admiral Alex.

Admiral Alex, a son of Afleet Alex, won his career debut going 1 1/8 miles at Saratoga on July 31. He came back in the Travers, where he finished last to Afleet Express. After a failed turf experiment in the Jamaica – he finished 10th of 11 – Admiral Alex won the Arts and Letters Stakes at Belmont by 4 3/4 lengths on Oct. 24, his final start of the year.

Plenty of options for R Betty Graybull

Trainer Linda White on Monday morning was still basking in the glow of R Betty Graybull’s last-to-first victory over odds-on favorite Quiet Giant in Saturday’s $100,000 Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct.

“You experience something like that and it so makes up for the struggles, doesn’t it?” White, a former assistant to former NYRA kingpin Gasper Moschera, said Monday. “She just keeps getting better and better.”

In winning the Ladies, R Betty Graybull won at 1 1/8 miles for the first time while earning a career-best Beyer of 94.

Given that R Betty Graybull has also run well around one-turn – especially at Belmont Park, where she has recorded three of her eight career victories – there are plenty of options for the New York-bred mare’s next spot. On May 21, Belmont hosts the Grade 2, $150,000 Shuvee Handicap, a one-turn mile race. The same day, which is Preakness Day, Pimlico has the Grade 3, $100,000 Allaire duPont Distaff at 1 1/8 miles around two turns. Frank Stronach, who purchased half-interest in R Betty Graybull from the Fantasy Lane Stable prior to the Barbara Fritchie, owns Pimlico.

White said R Betty Graybull came out of the Ladies a little tired but otherwise in good shape.

Samyn hopes to return in a few weeks

Jockey Jean-Luc Samyn, who lost two fingers on his right hand in a snowblower accident on Feb. 21, paid a visit to Belmont Park on Monday. The veteran rider said he hopes to get on horses for trainer John Hertler in the mornings beginning next week and then return to race-riding a few weeks after that.

“I’m not in a hurry, I just want to do the right thing,” Samyn said. “I’m feeling good. I’m waiting for the weather to get a little warmer.”

Samyn noted that he is going to have to make some adjustments in order to make it back.

“If I can come back, it’s because I can do it,” he said. “I would not do something that could hurt me or somebody else. We will see.”

Samyn, 54, has ridden 2,611 winners in North America from 24,040 mounts dating back to 1976.