Shotski Springs Upset in Remsen Stakes

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Shotski held off fast-closing Ajaaweed to win the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes Dec. 7 at Aqueduct. (Eclipse Sportswire)

From a $25,000 yearling purchase to a graded stakes winner, Shotski continued his rise Dec. 7 in the $250,000, Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct.

Owned in partnership by Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, Pantofel Stable, and Mike Karty, the Blame colt quickly took command and never looked back in the 1 1/8-mile race for 2-year-olds, acing his first two-turn trip under jockey Luis Saez.

Trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer entered Shotski off a fourth in the one-mile Street Sense Stakes Oct. 27 at Churchill Downs, where he was edged by three-quarters of a length by eventual Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes winner Silver Prospector. In that start with Sheldon Russell in the irons, Shotski chased the pace and made a four-wide bid before he was outfinished.

This time, Saez sent the colt to the front to set quarter-mile splits of :24.26, :50.08, and 1:15.19 on a track rated fast.

“We discussed beforehand — and Adam [Wachtel] is great with analysis —and we found that we might be on the front end, which we didn’t mind, said O’Dwyer, who picked up his first graded stakes score. “He’s a very laid-back horse, so I knew he would relax with no problem. Luis said that he did everything right. He doesn’t do any more than he’s asked, but when you ask him, he’s there for you.”

Saez let Shotski out a notch leaving the far turn, and the colt opened a three-length lead by upper stretch. With only Ajaaweed a threat to his chances down the lane, the advantage proved insurmountable, and Shotski was able to stave off the late run and prevail by a half-length. It was 3 3/4 lengths back to Chase Tracker in third. The final time was 1:54.24.

Shotski picked up 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with the victory. Ajaaweed earned four, Chase Tracker two, and fourth-place finisher Informative one.

Where Shotski will next appear on the Derby trail is still undecided, but it’s unlikely to be in Aqueduct’s next prep, the $150,000 Jerome Stakes Jan. 1.

“I was just talking to Aron Wellman, and we would like to avoid their monster [Independence Hall], and I know they’re going to the Jerome,” Wachtel said. “I’d rather not run against him. Off this big effort, I’m not in a rush to find a next spot for him. We’ll see how he comes out of it. We’ll keep all options open.”

Shotski banked $137,500, increasing his earnings to $167,222. Sent off at odds of 8.80-1 in a nine-horse field, he returned $19.60 on a $2 win wager. Bred in Kentucky by Springland Farm & Prime Bloodstock out of the Bluegrass Cat mare She Cat, he was bought by Kings Equine last year from Taylor Made Sales Agency’s consignment to The October Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky yearling sale. His dam produced graded stakes-placed Colonist.

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