2019 Remsen Stakes at a Glance

Eclipse Sportswire

Considering how the 2-year-old male division is one of the more puzzling categories on the Eclipse Award ballot, the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct could be a spot for unveiling one or two new Triple Crown candidates. Contested at a two-turn, 1 1/8-mile distance, it offers a preview of what could come for the nine starters in the important two-turn stakes awaiting them as 3-year-olds.

Remsen Stakes

Racetrack: Aqueduct, Ozone Park, N.Y.

Date: Dec. 7

Purse: $250,000

Distance: 1 1/8 miles

Race: 9

Post Time: 3:43 p.m.

Notable winners: Catholic Boy (2018), Honor Code (2013), Coronado’s Quest (1997), Thunder Gulch (1994), Go For Gin (1993), Java Gold (1986), Pleasant Colony (1980), Key to the Mint (1971), Damascus (1966), Northern Dancer (1963), Carry Back (1960)

First held: 1904

1. Chase Tracker (7-2): Won nicely in his career debut at Parx, then was no match for runaway winner Independence Hall in the Nashua. He adds blinkers and should benefit from a ground-saving rail trip with Javier Castellano in the irons. Figuring he ran into the wrong horse on the wrong day, he should be much more competitive here for a stable well-versed in developing Triple Crown contenders.

JOCKEY: Javier Castellano  TRAINER: Todd Pletcher

2. Forza Di Oro (3-1): Took a nice step forward in his second start, winning a maiden race by a little less than a length at a one-turn 1 1/16-mile distance. In his debut, he was second by 4 ¼ lengths to Remsen starter Ajaaweed, making it curious why he was installed as the morning-line favorite.

JOCKEY: Junior Alvarado TRAINER: Bill Mott

3. Cleon Jones (6-1): New York-bred named for a star on the 1969 Miracle Mets, he’s the most seasoned member of the field. Has started five times, three of them in state-bred stakes, and lost by a head last time out in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes at a mile. Seems likely to handle the nine-furlong distance and might hit a home run here.

JOCKEY: Irad Ortiz Jr. TRAINER: Jeremiah Englehart

4. Ajaaweed (9-2): Posted that impressive 4 ¼-length maiden win but then failed to fire against Grade 1 rivals in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity. He’s worked nicely since returning home to New York and seems poised for a strong effort.

JOCKEY: Joel Rosario TRAINER: Kiaran McLaughlin

5. Informative (12-1): He’s still a maiden, but his best effort came in his last start when he lost by a nose in a Laurel Park stakes. Seems to be getting better, but he’s never raced beyond six furlongs and this looms as too formidable of a challenge for him.

JOCKEY: John Bisono TRAINER: Uriah St. Lewis

6. Shotski (15-1): An easy winner in a six-furlong Laurel Park maiden race, he lacked a late kick when stretched out to a mile against some good rivals in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs. Has an interesting pedigree for two turns and with a jockey switch to Luis Saez, he might take a nice step forward at an attractive price. Wouldn’t be surprised if he winds up on the lead in a race lacking an obvious front-runner.

JOCKEY: Luis Saez TRAINER: Jeremiah O’Dwyer

7. Prince James (15-1): His speed figures are ordinary but he did win at first asking around two turns in his career debut at Monmouth Park. Was then a distant second at 1 1/16 miles in an allowance race at Churchill Downs. Shouldn’t be fazed by the distance but it’s questionable whether he has enough speed to be a threat at the wire.

JOCKEY: Manny Franco TRAINER: Kelsey Danner

8. Alpha Sixty Six (4-1): Was tested in the Grade 1 Champagne in his second start and ran well enough to finish fifth. His win came in a sprint, though the blinkers come off here and that might help him. On the other hand, drawing an outside post could create a problem for him.

JOCKEY: John Velazquez TRAINER: Todd Pletcher

9. Amends (12-1): Has excellent connections, being a Phipps Stable homebred trained by Shug McGaughey, but he’s hard to gauge. Made a belated bid in his career debut at seven furlongs. Then broke his maiden at 1 1/16 miles, but that came in the slop in a race washed off the turf. Asking him to handle graded stakes rivals on a dry track from the outside post may be asking a lot at this stage in his career.

JOCKEY: Jose Ortiz TRAINER: Shug McGaughey

THE PICK: Chase Tracker



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