04/13/2013 12:45PM

Aqueduct: Scratches leave four runners in Distaff


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - There were three scratches from Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct, including that of morning-line second choice Spectacular Sky.

Also scratched were Villanesca and Hearts of Red, leaving a four-horse field that figured to have a heavy favorite in the undefeated New York-bred Cluster of Stars.

Marty Wolfson, the trainer of Spectacular Sky, said his mare developed a fever after shipping in earlier in the week from south Florida. Wolfson was still represented in the race by Nakano, who was to be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Nakano was to have been ridden by Alex Solis, but Solis was not cleared to ride Saturday by first-aid doctors at Aqueduct due to high blood pressure. 

Ortiz was scheduled to ride Villanesca, who was scratched after getting cast in her stall and suffering cuts on both her forelegs, according to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Ortiz is currently under suspension for a riding infraction incurred at Laurel Park, but was allowed to ride Saturday under a designated race rule that allows a jock to ride a stakes in exchange for adding an additional day to the suspension.

Hearts of Red was scratched due to a bout of colic, according to trainer Ralph Nicks.