01/07/2013 2:32PM

Aqueduct: Royal Currier stays home for True and Blue Stakes

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Royal Currier will make his 5-year-old debut in Wednesday's $75,000 True and Blue Stakes at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – After briefly considering shipping eight-time stakes winner Royal Currier to south Florida for the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint – a race in which he finished third last year – his connections opted for a more conservative route. Thus, Royal Currier will make his 5-year-old debut in Wednesday’s $75,000 True and Blue Stakes at Aqueduct.

Royal Currier, a gelding by Red Bullet, bounced back from a couple of subpar efforts when he finished a solid second to Saginaw in last month’s Gravesend at Aqueduct. That was his first start for trainer Linda Rice, who had been given Royal Currier by Mike Ciaccio, the head of MAT Stables, which owns Royal Currier.

“He ran well here last time out,” Rice said. “I think we decided to keep him in New York, and hopefully that’ll keep him in good form. He had a couple of subpar performances. He ran well for us in the Gravesend.”

Prior to the Gravesend, Royal Currier finished ninth in the De Francis Dash at Laurel. Three weeks before that, Royal Currier had been scratched from the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational at Belmont after becoming fractious at the gate.

“Once he arrived, we were just getting familiar with him. We did do quite a bit of gate work trying to address that issue,” Rice said. “He also had had a couple of small injuries that we gave a chance to heal up.”

In the Gravesend, Royal Currier used his early speed from the inside post to set the pace, hounded by Saginaw. Royal Currier battled Saginaw from the inside until the sixteenth pole before giving way.

“I was relieved when he showed up and ran as well as he did,” Rice said.

Wednesday, Royal Currier is drawn outside in the five-horse field, which should give Ramon Dominguez options to see how the race is developing as he decides what tactics to employ. Head Heart Hoof, drawn in post 3, is a viable candidate to seek the early lead.

“I don’t think this horse has to be on the lead at all,” said Rice, who also will run 2011 Gravesend winner Frazil in this spot.

Be Bullish, an 8-year-old gelding who has won 12 of 63 starts, is coming off a win for $50,000 claiming here Dec. 7. He was scratched out of similar race as that last week to run here. He has finished in the money in 15 of 19 starts over the inner track.

Saturday’s Charm was second to Last Gunfighter in the Raymond Earl Stakes going a mile last out. This will be his first start at six furlongs in what will be his seventh career start.

With only five horses entered, the True and Blue is carded as race 2 on the nine-race program.