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Belmont Park: Fiddlers Afleet ships in for Carr Heaven
By Dave Litfin
New York Showcase Day isn’t until October, but Sunday’s $90,000 Carr Heaven overnight stakes offers a preview of the Empire Classic as the six veterans in the 1 1/16-mile race have won 43 of 150 starts and more than $2.2 million.
The leading earner is Fiddlers Afleet, a California shipper claimed out of a win for $40,000 by John Sadler earlier this month.
“It was kind of a gambling-type claim because he has a lot of gaps in his form, but he’s obviously a very good horse,” said Sadler, whose last starter here was Dave in Dixie in the 2010 Belmont Stakes. “He ran well that day, and we’re kind of excited to take a shot with him because he certainly likes Belmont.”
Fiddlers Afleet was a maiden winner at Belmont as a 2-year-old and at 3 won a first-level allowance here by nearly 14 lengths. After winning the Albany Stakes at Saratoga a few weeks later, Fiddlers Afleet went to Remington Park to capture the Oklahoma Derby. The next two years, he made stops in Florida, West Virginia, Kentucky, and New Orleans, and finally wound up in California this past winter.
Sadler, his eighth trainer, will evaluate how Fiddlers Afleet runs before firming up future plans, noting, “He trained most of the winter on synthetic.”
The move across town could be a negative handicapping factor for the morning-line favorite and second choice, as Inherit the Gold has posted 9 of 10 career wins at Aqueduct, while all but one of Saginaw’s nine wins have come at The Big A.
After winning all four starts at the 2010-11 inner-track meet, Inherit the Gold won just one of five this past winter, with several tough wide trips along the way. Returned to the main track two weeks ago, he rebounded with a late surge to win the Action overnight stakes against open company.
“All he needs is a fair chance,” trainer Jim Hooper said. “If he gets a fair chance, he is going to be right there.”
Saginaw has always been a useful sort, but has simply been a different horse since adding blinkers, recording Beyers of 101, 105, and 99 in three straight wins, the last two off a claim by David Jacobson.
Johannesburg Smile, third in last year’s Empire Classic, makes his seasonal bow for Dominic Galluscio.
Spa City Fever and Star of New York come off career-best efforts.
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