Shagaf looking to give Shadwell a one-two Derby punch in Gotham

Mar 04, 2016

Shadwell Stable could have another significant prospect enter the Kentucky Derby (G1) picture on Saturday with a strong performance from Shagaf in the $400,000 Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct.

The Gotham, over 1 1/16 miles on the inner dirt, is a Championship race in the Road to the Kentucky Derby Series. The top four finishers will earn Derby eligibility points of 50-20-10-5.

Shagaf, two-for-two following an Aqueduct maiden win and an allowance victory at Gulfstream, is a son of Bernardini who seeks to join present Derby favorite Mohaymen in the Churchill Downs starting. The latter is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, while Shagaf is conditioned by Chad Brown.

'He has good positional speed and I'm sure [jockey] Irad [Ortiz Jr.] will place him where he needs to be during the race,' Brown said.

Sunny Ridge, a gelded son of Holy Bull, enters the Gotham off a victory in the Withers (G3) over the same track and distance. Runner-up in the Champagne (G1) and Delta Jackpot (G3) at two, Sunny Ridge is currently eighth in the Derby points standings. However, he might end up skipping the Run for the Roses as owner Dennis Drazin's long-term goal for the gray is the Haskell Invitational (G1) in July at Monmouth Park, a track Drazin co-owns.

Trainer Todd Pletcher saddles two in the Gotham. Rally Cry was a close second choice in the January 29 Gulfstream allowance won by Shagaf, but experienced a very rough trip in a third-place effort. Pletcher's other entry is Mo Power, an Uncle Mo colt coming off a one-length maiden win at Gulfstream.

Others in the Gotham lineup are Adventist, third in the Withers; the maiden Laoban, third in the Sham (G3) at Santa Anita last time; and Conquest Big E, who would move up in sloppy conditions.

(Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography)

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