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This time Frankel's shooting for them
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - For one of the few times this year, Bobby Frankel will be the hunter instead of the hunted in a Grade 1 stakes.
Frankel, who already this year has won a single-year North American record 24 Grade 1 races, has shipped the 3-year-old Midas Eyes to New York for Saturday's $350,000 Cigar Mile, where he will take on the Bob Baffert-trained Congaree in the last Grade 1 race of the year in New York.
Of the 38 Grade 1 races run on the flat in New York this year, Frankel has won 13, including the Belmont Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap, Whitney, Go for Wand, Forego, and Vosburgh. Of the 25 Grade 1 races in New York in which Frankel has run, his horses have been favored 16 times.
On Saturday, Midas Eyes figures to be the second choice behind Congaree, the defending Cigar Mile winner. In the spring, Midas Eyes won the Grade 3 Swale and Grade 3 Derby Trial against 3-year-olds. He was beaten a nose by Posse in the Grade 2 Riva Ridge on Belmont Stakes Day.
Midas Eyes missed the summer due to a bruised foot, an injury Frankel believes probably occurred in the Riva Ridge, which was run over a sloppy track. Midas Eyes returned to training in late summer and showed enough immediately for Frankel to point him to the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Though Frankel noticed Midas Eyes regressing a bit in the week leading up to the Sprint, he decided to run him anyway.
"In actuality, he wasn't training that great before the Breeders' Cup," Frankel said. "Afterward, he started getting back to his old self again. I'm glad I ran him. I didn't think he ran all that bad; he was right there till about the eighth pole. Johnny [Velazquez] said he didn't like the dirt hitting him in the face."
Frankel knows that Congaree will be tough to beat in the Cigar, but Midas Eyes will carry nine pounds fewer than Congaree.
"I feel good about it," Frankel said. "It'll show what he's made of. Nine pounds is a lot of weight."
Midas Eyes arrived from California on Wednesday. Frankel said he would be here for the race.
New York-breds aplenty in Remsen
Nearly seven months after Funny Cide became the first New York-bred to win the Kentucky Derby, another statebred could emerge as a contender for next year's Derby in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Remsen Stakes. Three of the 10 expected starters in the 1 1/8-mile race are New York-breds, led by probable favorite Read the Footnotes. Pa Pa Da and West Virginia are the other statebreds in the field.
Read the Footnotes, a son of Smoke Glacken, is 3 for 4, including a victory in the Grade 3 Nashua Stakes.
West Virginia and Pa Pa Da finished first and third in the six-furlong Great White Way Stakes, for progeny of New York-based stallions. West Virginia won his maiden at a mile, and trainer Todd Pletcher believes he's better going longer.
"I thought his maiden race was very good," Pletcher said. "He has tactical speed and looks like he can carry it. Based on the way he ran a mile and watching him train, a mile and an eighth is within his scope. The obvious question is the step up in class. We're going from restricted races to the Remsen."
Though Pa Pa Da won his maiden on turf, trainer David Donk is not convinced that it is his preferred surface. He ran well behind Friends Lake - another New York-bred - in two dirt races and might have not cared for the cutback to six furlongs in the Great White Way.
"He's run good numbers on dirt," Donk said. "I certainly need to explore that option as far as I can. I could always go back to the grass."
Others pointing to the Remsen are Artie Schiller, Big Booster, El Prado Rob, Master David, Milestone Victory, Mustanfar, and Tap Day.
Caught in the Rain tries Top Flight
Caught in the Rain, who won the Grade 3 Athenia Handicap on turf here on Nov. 8, was a late entry to Friday's Grade 2, $150,000 Top Flight Handicap, where she will attempt to become a graded stakes winner on dirt.
Caught in the Rain won her maiden on a fast main track at Philadelphia Park last year, and won the off-the-turf Mrs. Penny Stakes in the slop in August. Trainer Guadalupe Preciado said that how Caught in the Rain fares in the Top Flight could determine where she spends the winter.
"We're going to take a shot on the dirt and figure it out from there," Preciado said. "If she doesn't look like the same horse on dirt, maybe we'll make a move to go south. Maybe I can go with her."
Caught in the Rain began her career with Preciado when she was owned by Ronald Perozzi. Bill Heiligbrodt and Walter New purchased Caught in the Rain after her upset win in the Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill in 2002. She was then turned over to trainer Steve Asmussen for four races before being moved back to Preciado in the spring.
Caught in the Rain drew post 11 in the 12-horse field and will be ridden by Victor Molina, who was aboard for her win in the Mrs. Penny.
Weaver and his assistant both fined
Trainer George Weaver and his assistant, Glenn Brookfield, were each fined $5,000 for the oral administration of medication on race day. The horse, Kid Carrots, who was entered in the fourth race on Nov. 6, was ordered scratched by the stewards.
Brookfield attempted to give Kid Carrots an oral dose of Carafate, an ulcer medication. New York rules prohibit the administering of any oral medication within 48 hours before a race.
Weaver, who was not present at the time, was fined under the trainer responsibility rules.
Neither Weaver nor Brookfield received suspensions.
Taking a shot with Dr. Kathy
Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. was hoping for a small field for Saturday's $200,000 Demoiselle, and it looks like he will get his wish. On Wednesday, only five 2-year-old fillies were probable for the Grade 2 Demoiselle.
Dutrow plans to run Dr. Kathy, who won the Salem County Stakes on the grass at The Meadowlands on Oct. 17. Dr. Kathy, a daughter of Polish Numbers, also won a maiden claiming race on the dirt in her career debut at Belmont Park on July 20.
Dutrow said the 1 1/8-mile Demoiselle looks like a good spot to pick up a check, but he isn't expecting much more than that from Dr. Kathy, who will be a longshot.
"I'm definitely running if it's a short field, but it's nothing to get excited about," said Dutrow, who trains Dr. Kathy for Lawrence Roman. "We're looking for a third- or fourth-[place] finish. It looks like it is coming up light and hopefully that is the way it will work out."
Ashado, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up, and La Reina, the Tempted winner, are the headline names in the Demoiselle. Please Take Me Out, who won the Miss Grillo on the grass in her last start, and Run Cat Run, third in the Salem County, are the other probables.
- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson