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Mar 04, 2011

Gotham Stakes features Repole and Pletcher three-year-old



Ozone Park, NY (Sports Network) - Owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher will send out the likely favorite in Saturday's $250,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. The men who handle the affairs of champion colt Uncle Mo, have entered Stay Thirsty in the 1 1/16-mile stakes for three-year-olds.

Nine Kentucky Derby hopefuls have been entered in the prep for April 9's Wood Memorial. Two years ago I Want Revenge won both the Gotham and Wood Memorial, and was made the morning-line favorite for the Run for the Roses.

Stay Thirsty makes his 2011 debut Saturday with Ramon Dominguez aboard the colt for the first time. The pair will start from post five.

"Stay Thirsty has $110,000 in graded earnings, so he'll need to win or finish second or third in his next two starts," noted Repole. "The Gotham is a race that will be competitive, but we expect to be one of the favorites."

The colt was fifth to Uncle Mo in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was runner-up in the Hopeful Stakes at Belmont Park behind Boys At Tosconova.

"I've been watching the Gotham and the Wood for years, and I want to run horses where my friends and family can come out and cheer," said Repole. "It's a little bit of a haul, but I love racing in New York and I like supporting New York racing. Even if Stay Thirsty wins by 10-lengths, his next race probably won't be in New York because we plan to have Uncle Mo in the Wood."

Whirlaway Stakes winner Toby's Corner goes after his fourth straight win on Saturday for owner Diane Cotter and trainer H. Graham Motion. The chestnut colt has drawn post four with Eddie Castro back to ride.

"I was a little concerned at the eighth pole [in the Whirlaway]," noted Motion, "because it looked for a second like he might wait on horses, but once Eddie got him straightened away he went on and won kind of comfortably."

Toby's Corner has earned $97,240 in his four starts. His lone loss came in his first career race at Delaware Park in October when he finished third.

Another local winner entered is Preachintothedevil who captured the New Year's Day Champagneforashley Stakes. Owned by Crossed Sabres Farm, the colt will break from post seven with regular rider Junior Alvarado.

Preachintothedevil, trained by Gary Contessa, is coming off a third-place finish to Toby's Corner in the Whirlaway. In four career starts he has won twice with two third-place finishes for $82,020.

Here is the complete field for the Gotham in post position order: The Fed Eased, Jose Valdivia, Jr.: Nacho Saint, Joe Bravo; Starship Caesar, Eurico Rosa Da Silva; Toby's Corner, Eddie Castro; Stay Thirsty, Ramon Dominguez; Isn't He Perfect, Jaime Rodriguez; Preachintothedevil, Junior Alvarado; Norman Asbjornson, Julian Pimentel and Dawly, Cornelio Velasquez.

The Gotham Stakes has a scheduled post-time of 5:12 p.m. (et).

In other Aqueduct news, veteran jockey Jean-Luc Samyn lost a pair of fingers last month and will miss at least a month of racing. The 54-year-old native of France had two fingers cut off and broke another when he was trying to clear a snowblower.

"You have to look on the bright side," said Samyn. "I am fortunate that this didn't end up being worse."

Samyn, winner of 2,611 races, plans to resume riding by early April and has not lost his sense of humor.

"This is actually good for my career, because I'm now lighter," he quipped. "If trainers want a light jockey, they can ride me."

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