04/03/2013 4:05PM

Aqueduct: Sahara Sky ships in from California for Carter

Benoit & Associates
Sahara Sky (center) wins the San Carlos.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – After recording consecutive Grade 2 stakes victories in Southern California, Sahara Sky has shipped cross-country seeking Grade 1 glory in Saturday’s $400,000 Carter Handicap, one of four undercard stakes on the 12-race Wood Memorial program.

Sahara Sky, trained and owned in part by Jerry Hollendorfer, drew post 4 and is the 120-pound starting highweight in a field of seven that includes Discreet Dancer, Fort Loudon, Brigand, and Saturday’s Charm.

Sahara Sky, sidelined by body soreness last summer, came off a seven-month layoff to win the Grade 2 Palos Verdes on Jan. 19 and followed that up with a victory in the Grade 2 San Carlos on Feb. 23. The horse who finished third to him in the San Carlos, Comma to the Top, came to New York to win the Tom Fool on March 2.

Comma to the Top stayed in California for Saturday’s $150,000 Potrero Grande at Santa Anita while Sahara Sky came here.

“The Carter is such a bigger purse than the next race coming up at Santa Anita, and our judgment was the race for $150,000 at Santa Anita could potentially be tougher than the race for $400,000 in New York, although I’ve never found anything to be anywhere near easy in New York,” Hollendorfer said. “We thought we might have a chance to win that race.”

Joel Rosario will ride Sahara Sky, who would appear to benefit from races with strong early pace.

Discreet Dancer arrived from south Florida on Wednesday and will make his first start outside of Gulfstream Park. Discreet Dancer, a son of Discreet Cat trained by Todd Pletcher, is coming off a 5 1/4-length victory in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, in which he beat fellow Carter entrants Swagger Jack and Fort Loudon.

Brigand, who was disqualified from second and placed fifth in the Grade 3 General George, Saturday’s Charm, beaten a nose in the Tom Fool, and Consortium, fourth in the Tom Fool, complete the field.