11/12/2010 3:13PM

Uncle T Seven, Mother Russia look to repeat in New York Stallion stakes

Tod Marks
Mother Russia, a five-time stakes winner for trainer Linda Rice, will be seeking to win the Staten Island division of the New York Stallion stakes for the second time on Sunday.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Uncle T Seven and Mother Russia, respective winners of the New York Stallion’s Thunder Rumble and Staten Island divisions last year, defend their titles in those $75,000, seven-furlong races Sunday at Aqueduct.

Both break from the rail in short fields. Mother Russia, a five-time stakes winner for Linda Rice, takes on five rivals, including stablemates Healthy Debate and We Need V L T’s.

After running in a trio of Grade 3 stakes on turf and synthetic tracks, Mother Russia made her first dirt start of the year in the Iroquois, and was disqualified from fourth after coming out and impeding a rival on the turn. Mother Russia gets a switch back to Ramon Dominguez, who was 5 for 6 on the filly last year.

Uncle T Seven turns back an effort on turf in the Mohawk Stakes, just as he did last year. In addition to last year’s Thunder Rumble, Uncle T Seven has won New York Stallion races on Aqueduct’s inner dirt and on turf at Saratoga, and won the Ashley T. Cole on Belmont’s inner turf two starts back.

“He’s a nice, versatile horse,” said trainer John Kimmel.

To repeat, Uncle T Seven must get past General Maximus, a 3-year-old coming off a career-best effort to win the Hudson in 1:08.84, the second-fastest time in that race since it was shortened to six furlongs in 1994.

“He came out of that race in wonderful shape,” said trainer John Terranova. “I think he’s got a shot to be a top sprinter next year, so we’ll see what happens.”

Driven by Success threw his head at the start and wound up fourth in defense of his Hudson title; he drew favorably toward the outside for Todd Pletcher.

The Fifth Avenue and Great White Way divisions for 2-year-olds failed to fill, and will be run back combined as the Great White Way on Wednesday.

◗ Among four turf races is race 6, the $60,000 Memories of Silver overnight stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile.

Jimmy Toner, who developed Memories of Silver into a multiple graded winner, switches Much Rejoicing to the grass; Toner also trained Much Rejoicing’s dam, Soaring Softly, the champion turf mare of 1999.

Island Time, Sea Road, and Ultimate Class are contenders.

◗ Zenyatta’s 3-year-old half-brother, Souper Spectacular, seeks his third straight turf win for Seth Benzel in the opener.