Avery Island has left a positive impression in his last two outings, breaking the maiden by a 5 ¼-length margin and romping by 4 ¾ lengths in the November 5 Nashua (G2), and the promising youngster will make his first start in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series when he lines up for Saturday’s $200,000 Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct.
The 1 1/8-mile race will award points on 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four finishers and Avery Island will try to give owners Godolphin Stable and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin their second straight winner in a Kentucky Derby qualifier following the success of Enticed in last weekend’s Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs.
A son of Street Sense, Avery Island has captured his last two starts in front-running fashion and figures to show speed from post 3 Saturday with regular rider Joe Bravo.
Catholic Boy has raced exclusively on turf but is a serious threat if he takes to the main track in the Remsen. A debut winner on Gulfstream Park’s turf, the More Than Ready colt shipped to Saratoga to defeat a strong field in the With Anticipation (G3) and exits a rallying fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) in which he was beaten less than two lengths. Manny Franco will be back up on the late runner for trainer Jonathan Thomas.
Todd Pletcher will send out Biblical, an $800,000 son of leading sire Tapit who will make his stakes debut after breaking his maiden the third time out at Aqueduct on November 17. John Velazquez, who guided 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming for Pletcher, rides the gray colt.
Tap Rap Strike looks intriguing following a nice debut maiden tally at Parx on October 14. Purchased for $850,000, the Tapit colt is conditioned by John Servis, who won the 2004 Kentucky Derby with Smarty Jones, and Tap Rap Strike adds the services of Irad Ortiz Jr.
Dale Romans, who recently became the all-time leading trainer by wins at Churchill Downs, ships Bandito north for the Remsen after a two-length score in an off-the-turf maiden special weight at Keeneland. Luis Saez takes over aboard the son of Creative Cause.
Vouch is another runner of interest, winning his lone appearance by an 8 ¼-length margin at Laurel Park. Arnaud Delacour sends out the speedy son of Yes It’s True and Joel Rosario picks up the mount.
Completing the 10-horse Remsen field are Alkhaatam, Millionaire Runner, Triple Dog Dare and V.I.P. Code.