Updated on 09/17/2011 10:02AM

Cold weather, Stymie suit Snake Mountain


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Saturday's ungraded Stymie Handicap at Aqueduct could be looked upon as a step down for Snake Mountain, who has won three consecutive Grade 3 stakes races.

Following a win in an allowance race in October at Belmont, Snake Mountain went on a tear and won the Stuyvesant, Queens County, and Aqueduct handicaps in succession at Aqueduct. Snake Mountain, a son of A.P. Indy, earned triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in each of his last four starts.

So why didn't Snake Mountain's connections plan something bigger for the 5-year-old's next start, besides the $75,000 Stymie? Options included last month's $500,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park and last Sunday's $500,000 New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds.

"To go from the cold environment to the hot never does any good," Snake Mountain's trainer and co-owner, Jimmy Jerkens, said. "You've got too much against you, and I didn't see the point of doing that. We can go through the spring and he'll shed his coat, and we'll keep him in a good frame of mind."

After the Stymie, Jerkens said a race he is considering for Snake Mountain is the $200,000 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap, a Grade 3 at Aqueduct April 5. Later in the spring, the $600,000 Pimlico Special, which returns May 16 following a year's absence, is another possibility for Snake Mountain.

"It's a long year, and there are a lot of big races out there," Jerkens said.

Snake Mountain, the 123-pound highweight, looks like a standout among the expected Stymie starters, which include Classic Endeavor, Country Only, Ground Storm, and Iron Chancellor. If the track is wet, Pleasant Breeze is a possible starter. My Request and My Man Ryan, entered Thursday in an allowance race, could scratch and run in the Stymie instead.

Cherokee's Boy points for Gotham

The $200,000 Gotham, a one-mile prep on the Triple Crown trail March 16, drew 53 nominations.

Scheduled to be run around one turn on the main track, the Grade 3 Gotham could be moved to the inner track and run around two turns at one mile and 70 yards if the main track misses its re-scheduled opening of March 14 because of inclement weather.

The list of early probables provided by the racing office Wednesday didn't feature any of the country's top Triple Crown prospects.

Cherokee's Boy, a winner of $309,929 and four ungraded stakes races, tops the list of expected Gotham starters. Trained by Gary Capuano in Maryland, Cherokees's Boy won the Deputed Testamony by 7 1/4 lengths last Saturday at Laurel Park.

Best Turn winner Second in Command and Gimmeawink, who won the Miracle Wood Stakes Feb. 8 at Laurel Park and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98, are also probable.

San Miguel winner Omega Code, once under consideration for the Gotham, will miss the race because of a quarter crack, according to Barry Irwin, the president of owner Team Valor Stables.

Randaroo wins easily

Randaroo, making her first start since winning the Grade 3 Valley Stream Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths here last November, drew off in the stretch to win Wednesday's fifth race by 4 3/4 lengths over Home Run Hitter.

Randaroo, the 1-5 favorite in the $50,000 allowance race, covered six furlongs in 1:10.21 over a sloppy track. Mario Pino rode the winner.

Trainer Tony Dutrow said a future target for Randaroo, a 3-year-old filly owned by Win and Place Stable and William Hurwitz, is the $200,000 Nassau County Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park May 10.

Last weekend, Dutrow and Pino combined to win the Busher Stakes with another 3-year-old filly, Elegant Designer.

Run for Joy seeks fifth straight win

Run for Joy, who has won her last four starts by a combined margin of 32 3/4 lengths, is among the runners in Friday's eighth race, a $56,000 classified allowance.

Eight fillies and mares were entered for the 1 1/16-mile race.

Run for Joy, a 7-year-old, ships in from Philadelphia Park for trainer John McCaslin, who is winning at a 31 percent rate this year. Run for Joy's winning streak is made up of her last three starts at Penn National (she dead-heated in one of those races) and a race at Philadelphia Park Dec. 8.

Orlando Bocachica rides Run for Joy, who has tactical speed, and drew post 7.

Ms. Rapunzel won back-to-back races at Aqueduct in November and December, before finishing fifth in the Videogenic Stakes Jan. 31. Trained by Bruce Levine, Ms. Rapunzel has had a couple of sharp workouts since the Videogenic, including a bullet half-mile Feb. 21 in 47.03 seconds, the fastest of 106 works at the distance.

Mike Luzzi rides Ms. Rapunzel from post 6.

Short Note won her first race in 11 months in her most recent start Jan. 15, a third-level allowance. Short Note controlled the pace on the way to a 6 1/2-length win.

Shaun Bridgmohan rides Short Note.