After a possible step backwards early in 2018, Enticed roared ahead with a strong win in the 2018 Gotham Stakes. The performance reminded horse players around the world that he is still in contention for the Kentucky Derby.
Bursting from the gate with purpose, a slew of longshots darted to the lead while setting a quarter-mile pace of :23.14. Cove Blue and Old Time Revival exchanged leads a few times, while Nine Route and Beautiful Shot sat close behind.
Firenze Fire, Enticed, Dial Operator and Free Drop Billy were the top four choices of the odds makers and were stalking closely behind, ensuring that the race wouldn’t slip away from them. The pace steadied to :46.43 at the half-mile mark.
Old Time Revival broke away from the field as the herd hit the three-quarter pole at 1:11.77 and the 35⁄1 longshot looked like he was going to steal a big one. But Enticed shot from the clouds to descend on his rival, devouring the home stretch while burying Old Time Revival in wisps of his dust. A few lengths back, Free Drop Billy and Firenze Fire duked it out for third, with the former holding on despite being listed as the 8⁄5 favorite.
Winning the 2018 Gotham Stakes in such convincing fashion was a boost for Enticed, who came alive in the 2017 Kentucky Jockey Club, but was a non-factor when he made his season debut in the 2018 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park in early February. A two-turn endeavor should be next up or the colt.
"He’s a big horse and has a nice pedigree to go along with it," winning jockey Junior Alvarado exclaimed. "I kept him outside, and each time I asked him to respond, he did. Turning for home, he took off right away and gave me what I wanted. The last part, I just geared him down. I didn’t want to kill him. I know he’s fine with more distance. I already won at two turns with him.”
Disappointment abounds for Free Drop Billy, who re-routed from the 2018 Fountain of Youth Stakes to the Gotham and appeared on the board as the favourite. Dale Romans was unpleased with the result, but looked towards the future, noting that Free Drop Billy picked up just enough points to keep his derby hopes alive.
“There was some good things to see, but I wanted him to win. I thought he would win," said Romans.
Learn more about the Gotham Stakes with these indepth stories:
|7||Old Time Revival 35-1||$25.80||$9.00|
|6||Free Drop Billy 8-5||$3.00|