Undefeated Samraat tops 11-horse field in Grade 3 Gotham

Samraat and Uncle Sigh, the New York-bred duo who finished one-two by some distance in the February 1 Withers, will have a rematch over Aqueduct's inner dirt on Saturday in the Grade 3, $500,000 Gotham, a 1 1/16-mile test which serves as a final local prelude for the $1 million Wood Memorial on April 5.

Several Gotham candidates are attempting to rebound off recent poor showings in other classic preps. Classic Giacnroll, a solid runner-up in the January 4 Jerome, was 14 lengths adrift of Samraat in the Withers, while Financial Mogul, most notably second to Cairo Prince in the Nashua last November, finished eight lengths behind that same rival in the Holy Bull at Gulfstream last out. Noble Cornerstone, who forms an entry with Samraat due to a common ownership, was a non-threatening seventh in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs last time, a race for which he was favored exiting a close loss in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park.

The ever-dangerous Todd Pletcher barn will be represented by three entrants in the Gotham, including Harpoon, who missed by a nose in the Sam F. Davis in his stakes debut. The other two have form to find; Master Lightning has been unplaced in all four stakes appearances, while Monopolize adds blinkers here after finishing sixth to the highly-rated Top Billing in a Gulfstream allowance.

Teen Pauline will go for her third straight stakes win of the winter meet in the Grade 2, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap over 1 1/16 miles. The Pletcher-trained daughter of Tapit dominated both the Affectionately and Ladies Handicap in January, coasting in wire-to-wire fashion by a combined margin of 15 1/2 lengths.

Summer Applause, who captured last year's Top Flight along with the Allaire duPont Distaff at Pimlico, makes her first start since running fourth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita in November. Others of note are Centring, the multiple Grade 1-placed mare who futilely chased Teen Pauline in her last two starts, and Royal Lahaina, who did the same following a 13-1 upset of last November's Go for Wand Handicap.

Strapping Groom, who prevailed in the Grade 1 ranks at Saratoga last summer when taking the Forego, faces six rivals in the Grade 3 $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap over six furlongs. The David Jacobson charge was last seen dominating the $98,000 Gravesend by 6 1/2 lengths in late December.

Also in the lineup are the top three finishers from the February 1 Toboggan: Candyman E, Dads Caps, and Non Stop.

2014 G3 $500,000 Gotham Stakes Information

Date: Saturday, March 1
Where: Aqueduct Racetrack, New York
Post Time: 4:17 p.m. ET/1:17 p.m. PT
Distance: 1 1/16 Mile Dirt
Purse: $500,000
Gotham Stakes wagering may include: Exacta, Trifecta (.50), Daily Double

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The field for the Grade 3, $500,000 Gotham- Click here for FREE Gotham PP's courtesy of Brisnet.com

PP Horse A/S M/E Wgt Jockey Trainer
1 In Trouble 3 C L 120 Rocco, Jr. Joseph Dutrow Anthony W.
2 Financial Mogul 3 C L 116 Bridgmohan Shaun Violette, Jr. Richard A.
3 Uncle Sigh 3 C L 116 Nakatani Corey S. Contessa Gary C.
4A Noble Cornerstone 3 G L b 116 Desormeaux Kent J. Ward Wesley A.
5 Monopolize 3 R L b 116 DeCarlo Christopher P. Pletcher Todd A.
6 Deceived 3 C L 116 Maragh Rajiv Gyarmati Leah
7 Classic Giacnroll 3 C L 116 Franco Manuel Guerrero Lisa
8A Samraat 3 C L 123 Ortiz Jose L. Violette, Jr. Richard A.
9 Extrasexyhippzster 3 C L 123 Pimentel Julian Trombetta Michael J.
10 Master Lightning 3 C L 116 Velasquez Cornelio H. Pletcher Todd A.
11 Harpoon 3 C L 116 Ortiz, Jr. Irad Pletcher Todd A.