The Gotham Stakes is not your typical, two-turn early March Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve prep race. At a one-turn mile distance, the Gotham is better-suited for sprinters and milers than classic winners, but nevertheless a total of 85 Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points will be up for grabs Saturday at Aqueduct.
The Gotham winner will get 50 points, assuring him of a spot in the Kentucky Derby if his connections believe he is up to the task. The runner-up will pocket 20 points, which could also land him a spot in the Derby starting gate. On a financial note, with 10 starters, the Gotham shapes up as an attractive betting affair.
1. Runninsonofagun (30-1 morning-line odds): He’s won his last two starts at Aqueduct, but they were against significantly easier competition. He’s taking a big class jump here and seems like a tossout.
JOCKEY: Jalon Samuel; TRAINER: John Toscano
2. Glider (8-1): He was second to the unbeaten Emmanuel, who is a top contender in the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park, and should be suited by the distance. He seems to be getting better with each start and merits a long look here.
JOCKEY: Antonio Gallardo; TRAINER: Mark Casse
3. Golden Code (12-1): He won by more than 10 lengths last time, which catches the eye. Yet that was against state-bred maidens on a muddy track. This figures to be a much tougher assignment.
JOCKEY: Kendrick Carmouche; TRAINER: Todd Pletcher
4. Fromanotamutha (6-1): Another big maiden winner, at least he did it on a dry track against open maidens. He took a big step forward in winning by 4 ¼ lengths in his sixth start, and the fear is that he might bounce off that effort.
JOCKEY: Dylan Davis; TRAINER: Raymond Handal
5. Dean’s List (7-2): He’s unbeaten in two starts, but both were at six furlongs. He’s trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher and, while the Derby seems a big ask, the mile here should suit him. He’s a major threat.
JOCKEY: Manny Franco; TRAINER: Todd Pletcher
6. Life Is Great (15-1): If he was Life Is Good, he’d be 1-20 on the toteboard. But the “Great” one has a long ways to go to reach the status of the Pegasus World Cup winner. He was well-beaten by fellow Gotham starter Morello in the seven-furlong Jimmy Winkfield Stakes and the added furlong may not help.
JOCKEY: Eric Cancel; TRAINER: Bob Klesaris
7. Noneedtoworry (30-1): He adds blinkers after a dull try in the Withers and he appears to be in need of more help than that to be competitive in this field.
JOCKEY: Silvestre Gonzalez; TRAINER: Herold O. Whylie
8. Bold Journey (6-1): He seemed home-free in a one-mile New York-bred stakes before abruptly tiring in the final furlong and finishing second. He should benefit from that start and the speed figure was good enough to include him in the exotics here.
JOCKEY: Jorge Vargas Jr.; TRAINER: Bill Mott
9. Morello (3-1): He advanced from third to draw off and take the Jimmy Winkfield. The competition will be tougher here but he has enough speed to work out a good, outside trip and make his presence felt in the final yards.
JOCKEY: Jose Lezcano; TRAINER: Steve Asmussen
10. Rockefeller (4-1): He’s trained by Bob Baffert, so you know he’s well-meant. He was second to Newgrange at a mile last time and won the one-turn mile Nashua at Belmont Park last November. He may not be eligible for Kentucky Derby points because of Baffert’s suspension at Churchill Downs, but he’s extremely eligible to win this race.
JOCKEY: Trevor McCarthy; TRAINER: Bob Baffert
THE PICK: Dean’s List
LIVE LONGSHOT: Glider