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Mar 20, 2015

Stymie Stakes attracts small but solid field


Ozone Park, NY ( - Sunday's $100,000 Stymie Stakes at Aqueduct may have drawn just five older thoroughbreds, but the 1 1/8-mile stakes will feature some top handicap runners based locally.

Coming out of last month's Evening Attire Stakes will be surprise winner North Slope along with defeated favorite Micromanage and third-place finisher Turco Bravo. Last year's Kelso Handicap winner Vyjack will be making his 2015 debut and Cousin Stephen goes for a third straight win.

North Slope and Micromanage have drawn the two inside posts with jockeys Junior Alvarado and Manny Franco aboard, respectively.

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for Godolphin Racing, North Slope won the Evening Attire four weeks ago at 7-1 over a muddy Aqueduct track.

"He's an improving horse," said Arthur Magnuson, assistant to McLaughlin. "Kiaran made the right call by shipping him north after a lackluster performance on a turf course at Gulfstream Park that he didn't really like. This was his first win, but he's run well on dirt before. He seems to be getting better and better."

The 5-year-old gelding has five wins, four seconds and three thirds in 20 career starts for $370,707.

Micromanage, owned by Repole Stable with Todd Pletcher training, was fourth in the Evening Attire as the 4-5 favorite. The 5-year-old was coming off a win in Aqueduct's Jazil Stakes on Jan. 19 which followed the December victory in the Queens County Stakes. Micromanage has banked $766,881 with seven wins, four seconds and five thirds from 25 lifetime starts.

Leaving from post 3 will be Vyjack, trained by Gustavo Rodriguez for Pick Six Racing. The 5-year-old gelding has been away from the races since coming in second on Dec. 13 in the Queens County. Vyjack is just $62,500 away from becoming a millionaire and has won six of 16 career starts.

Turco Bravo, third in the Evening Attire, will be ridden by Jose Ortiz from post 4 for trainer Gary Contessa and Winning Move Stable. The 6-year-old chestnut gelding began the year with a second at Laurel Park in the Native Dancer followed by a runner-up finish in the Jazil. Turco Bravo has won 10 of 38 lifetime starts with 13 seconds for $182,318.

Cousin Stephen is the baby of the field at 4 years old. The colt, trained by Chad Brown, will be ridden by Kendrick Carmouche from the outside post. Owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, Cousin Stephen has won his last two starts, both at Parx Racing and seeks his first career stakes win. The colt has won four of 11 career starts and $167,452.

Here is the field for the Stymie in post position order: North Slope, Junior Alvarado; Micromanage, Manny Franco; Vyjack, Irad Ortiz Jr.; Turco Bravo, Jose Ortiz and Cousin Stephen, Kendrick Carmouche.

The Stymie has an approximate post time Sunday of 2:18 p.m. ET.

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