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Seattle Fitz has Florida in his sights
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - With limited and not very lucrative options available in the Northeast, Aqueduct Handicap winner Seattle Fitz is likely headed to south Florida, where he could make his next start in the Grade 1, $500,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park.
Seattle Fitz won his first graded stakes Saturday, when he held off a late charge from Evening Attire to take the Grade 3 Aqueduct Handicap by a nose. Seattle Fitz was coming off losses in graded events such as the Fayette, Clark, and Queens County handicaps.
Aqueduct does not host another race in the handicap division until the ungraded, $75,000 Stymie Handicap on March 6. While Laurel runs the $150,000 John B. Campbell Breeders' Cup Handicap on Feb. 14, Seattle Fitz is not eligible for the Breeders' Cup and therefore would be running for only half of the purse.
McLaughlin plans to send Seattle Fitz to the Palm Meadows training center in Boynton Beach, Fla., this week and said he would consider running him in the Donn on Feb. 7 or the $500,000 New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds on Feb. 29. McLaughlin, who is 6 for 9 at Gulfstream, said he could also simply train Seattle Fitz and wait for the spring.
"It's a little quick back," McLaughlin said of the Donn, "but if we're there and he's doing well and Funny Cide is the main attraction, and if Congaree doesn't come, and if Medaglia d'Oro doesn't come, and it drops off after that, if we're there, we can enter up and look and see what's going on."
Seattle Fitz, owned by the West Point Stable, earned a 109 Beyer Speed Figure for his Aqueduct win.
Meanwhile, trainer Pat Kelly said Evening Attire would probably get a little break after another stakes placing. Kelly feared the 122-pound weight assignment would get to Evening Attire and agreed with jockey Shaun Bridgmohan's assertion that Evening Attire was "laboring" turning for home. Evening Attire conceded eight pounds to Seattle Fitz.
Kelly said he would not nominate Evening Attire to the Stymie and would probably look out of town for Evening Attire's next race.
"They won't have him to weight for a while," Kelly said. "They don't want him here. We'll back off him a bit and wait for something somewhere."
Quick Action wins one for Young
Quick Action paid tribute to his late owner-breeder William T. Young on Monday by cruising to a 7 3/4-length victory in the $81,225 Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Aqueduct. Risky Trick rallied to nose out Scary Bob for second.
The victory by Quick Action was the first stakes win for Overbrook Farm since Young died Jan. 12 due to an apparent heart attack.
"So often this happens after a loss of the patriarch of a large operation," said Ric Waldman, the stallion manager for Overbrook Farm. "It has a special meaning, more so than any other stakes win in recent memory."
Under Heberto Castillo, Quick Action quickly opened up a 1 1/2-length lead after running an opening quarter in 23.32 seconds. Quick Action steadily opened up his advantage, even though Castillo dropped his whip as they neared the eighth pole. Quick Action covered the six furlongs in 1:13.92 over a good track and returned $15.40 to win.
The victory was the first New York stakes win for trainer D. Wayne Lukas since Boston Park won the Whirlaway last February.
Sinister G back on track
Sinister G rebounded from his disappointing performance in the Count Fleet Stakes two weeks ago by rolling to a front running 5 3/4-length victory in an entry-level allowance race Saturday.
Sinister G will now be pointed to the $75,000 Whirlaway Stakes on Feb. 7, "if we don't sell him," said trainer John Toscano Jr.
Toscano was confident about Sinister G's chances in the Count Fleet, but said Sinister G washed out in the paddock and left his race there. He finished fifth. Saturday, he showed his customary speed, and, after dueling with another horse through a half-mile in 46.60 seconds, he drew off. He ran 1 1/16 miles in a respectable 1:44.21.
Another six-figure carryover
Here we go again.
After two fortunate handicappers took home more than $1.1 million in last Saturday's pick six here, there's a chance for the rest of us to redeem ourselves - there will be a hefty $110,256 pick six carryover heading into Wednesday's card at the Big A.
Wednesday, originally scheduled as a dark day, was added to the schedule because of a recent bevy of cancellations.
The featured event is an entry-level allowance race for New York bred 3-year-old fillies. There is plenty of speed signed up for this six-furlong event, which could set up nicely for Above the Devil. Above the Devil looked like a winner in this condition Jan. 2, when she showed a quick move around the turn, headed Lusi Pond in midstretch, but could not outfinish Lusi Pond and lost by a nose.
Above the Devil would benefit if What a Form, High Peaks, Ginger N Sugar, and White Wedding hook up early.
South Dakota OTB owner hits pick six
J. Randy Gallo, the owner of the Bettor Racing OTB parlor in Sioux Falls, S.D., was one of two winners who hit Saturday's record pick six for $1,120,287. The other winning ticket was purchased in Southern California.
Gallo, 54, is a native of Massachusetts who began playing horses at the Marshfield Fair in the 1960's. He has twice qualified for the Daily Racing Form/NTRA national handicapping contest.
"I basically do this for a living," Gallo said. "I take a look at all the carryovers over the country and will play depending on how much active each is getting. I usually put a lot of money up."
There was $2,630,316 wagered into Saturday's pick six, which also had a near-record carryover of $761,027 entering the card. The $1.1 million payoff was believed to be the highest non-Breeders' Cup payoff for a pick six.
Gallo would not reveal the cost of his ticket.
* Jockey Erilouis Vaz, a 20-year-old native of Puerto Rico, won his first career race on Monday, guiding longshot Wild Term ($147) to victory in a $30,000 maiden claiming race.