11/13/2016 4:05PM

Sticksstatelydude may be available for Pegasus Stakes

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Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Sticksstatelydude won the Discovery at Aqueduct by 1 1/4 lengths.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Greg Burchell is planning to take Discovery Stakes winner Sticksstatelydude to Oaklawn Park for his next start unless someone makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

While Burchell is targeting the $125,000 Fifth Season Stakes on Jan. 13 for Sticksstatelydude, there’s a race 15 days later at Gulfstream Park that may be more intriguing. Sticksstatelydude could attract some interest for the $12 million Pegasus Stakes, especially by those owners who have already paid $1 million for a starting slot in that race but who don’t have a horse to run in it.

Sticksstatelydude showed he could handle 1 1/8 miles by going gate to wire in the Discovery at Aqueduct, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Neolithic and earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure.

Burchell, the part owner and primary trainer of Sticksstatelydude, said Sunday that Sticksstatelydude came out of the race “bright-eyed and bouncing around this morning.” The horse ran under trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s name Saturday for logistical reasons.

Burchell said his plan is to take Sticksstatelydude back to Churchill Downs next week and train him there until the end of December. In the interim, he could be courted by owners looking to run a horse in the Pegasus, which is contested at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream.

“Kiaran said there’s 10 guys that don’t have a horse; he asked me if I’d be interested in leasing him for the day,” Burchell said. “I said sure, I’d be crazy not to.”

Currently, the only two slot holders for the Pegasus that would have their own horses to run are California Chrome Racing, which runs leading Horse of the Year candidate California Chrome, and Frank Stronach, who owns Grade 1 Woodward winner Shaman Ghost, who missed the BC Classic due to an illness.

Jack Wolf’s Starlight Stable has a slot in the Pegasus and may have found a Pegasus candidate in Neolithic, who ran second to Sticksstatelydude in the Discovery.

“If we’re going to run a Starlight horse, he’s our Pegasus horse,” Wolf said Sunday.

That, of course, leaves open the possibility of Starlight making a deal with someone else to lease or share a different horse for the race.

Wolf said that Neolithic would likely make his next start in the Grade 3, $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 17. The Harlan’s Holiday is run at 1 1/16 miles. Neolithic won a maiden race going 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream.

Meanwhile, My Man Sam, the third-place finisher in the Discovery, will get a break, according to trainer Chad Brown. My Man Sam was beaten only 3 1/2 lengths while rallying from last behind a slow pace.

Brown said My Man Sam “ran very well given the pace scenario and he really got eliminated at the start, got squeezed really bad and fell even farther out of position than he normally is. He was the only one running into the pace, I thought he ran extremely well.

"He has earned a vacation. He’s had a long year, he started running in January. It’s nice for him to go out off a good race and will get a freshening on the farm and point to next year.”

Brown said Gift Box, the Discovery favorite who finished fifth, would also get a break. He will likely be pointed to one-turn races in 2017, Brown said.

“Both of his wins have been around one turn,” Brown said. “I think after a vacation, bringing him back in some one-turn races to start with is a good early plan for him. We’re disappointed with the result yesterday, we’re not down on the horse, we know he has a lot of talent. Now’s a good time to give him a break.”