11/17/2011 4:02PM

Aqueduct: Redeemed goes after first graded victory


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Fresh off a big payday in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby, Redeemed will be a clear favorite to notch his first graded stakes victory in Saturday’s Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct. He will carry top weight of 121 pounds and concede five to seven pounds to seven rivals, including Wood Memorial runner-up Arthur’s Tale.

The Grade 3, $100,000 Discovery, New York’s final graded stake of the season for 3-year-old males, is the third leg of a $250,000 guaranteed late pick four that begins with the Pay the Butler overnight stakes at 2:48 p.m. Eastern.

Redeemed has won four of six starts this year while shuttling between the barns of Rick Dutrow Jr. and his brother Tony, for whom Redeemed was up in the final strides in the Oklahoma Derby. That day, he beat a solid field that included Peter Pan winner Alternation and Prayer for Relief, who was coming off victories in the Iowa, West Virginia, and Super Derbies.

“The blinkers last time probably helped him focus,” owner Samantha Siegel said. “He’s still learning how to run.”

In 2011, only two horses have finished in front of Redeemed: Caleb’s Posse, who subsequently won the King’s Bishop and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile to throw his hat in the ring for a divisional title; and Wilburn, who returned to win the Indiana Derby.

Redeemed does not meet any graded stakes winners in the Discovery, although Arthur’s Tale came tantalizingly close in the Wood for Tom Albertrani, taking the lead between calls in deep stretch, only to be run down at the wire by Toby’s Corner.

Arthur’s Tale was diagnosed with a stress fracture in the cannon bone of his left foreleg shortly afterward and did not make it back to the races until a fourth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 24.

“He needed a race,” assistant trainer Pedro Mateo said. “I had the horse all winter last year, and the horse is doing so great.”

The regally bred Raison d’Etat has not been out since finishing next-to-last in the Travers in just his fifth career start, but he figures to attract support after a solid series of workouts for Bill Mott.

“He’s had some nice breezes, and he’s as big and strong as ever,” assistant trainer Leana Willaford said. “He’s a horse who is going to develop – his 4-year-old year should be a really big year for him.”

Socialsaul, who won the New York Derby in July and set the pace in the Oklahoma Derby most recently, should set or force the early fractions along with Ghost Gunner and Golden Gulch.

Eltheeb, who ran his best race to win at 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct’s spring meet, completes the field.

DISCOVERY HANDICAP: Past performances and video preview