Gold for the King ready to go
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – With Gold for the King having a hard race when third in the Gravesend Stakes on Dec. 23, trainer Charlton Baker was going to wait until next week’s Grade 3 Toboggan to run the 5-year-old gelding again.
But all indications are that Gold for the King doesn’t need more time, so Baker is content to run him against fellow New York-breds in Saturday’s $100,000 Say Florida Sandy Stakes at Aqueduct. Gold for the King finished second to My Boy Tate in last year’s Say Florida Sandy.
“He came out of the [Gravesend] good enough where the time between races doesn’t really matter right now,” said Baker, who trains Gold for the King for owner Francis Paolangeli. “He’s been eating great, that’s always an issue, but he’s been eating great since he came out of the race.”
The Say Florida Sandy and Toboggan are both run at seven furlongs for the same money. The graded status of the Toboggan is meaningless as Gold for the King is a gelding.
Gold for the King finished third, three-quarters of a length behind Recruiting Ready and Skyler’s Scramjet in the Gravesend at six furlongs. Baker felt Gold for the King was a bit out of his comfort zone having to chase the early pace.
“I don’t think he likes to get rushed off his feet, if he can relax and make his run that’s always better, and seveneighths gives him the opportunity to do that without being that far back,” Baker said.
Junior Alvarado rides Gold for the King, the co-highweight at 123 pounds, from post 2 in a nine-horse field.
Trainer Michelle Nevin won last year’s Say Florida Sandy with My Boy Tate. Saturday, she’ll send out Honor Up, who has won 2 of 3 starts since coming into her barn.
Honor Up has the outside draw under Manny Franco, who can see how the race shapes up.
“Right out of the gate, Manny is going to know what to do. He has got a perfect post to make that decision,” Nevin said.
Syndergaard, runner-up in the Grade 1 Champagne in 2016, is coming off a nose allowance win against statebreds last out.
The Say Florida Sandy will go as race 8 on a nine-card that begins at 12:25 p.m.
Gold for the King, by Posse Last 3 Beyers: 98-98-93
◗ Has recorded four of his five career stakes wins over Aqueduct’s main track.
◗ Has won his last two seven-furlong stakes against restricted company by a combined 16 3/4 lengths.
◗ Loses Joel Rosario, but picks up Junior Alvarado.
Honor Up, by To Honor and Serve Last 3 Beyers: 95-86-90
◗ Seems like a better horse from off the pace with some pace in front of him.
◗ Is 2-2-0 from four starts at Aqueduct, with one of those runner-up finishes coming behind Audible in a New Yorkbred allowance race 14 months ago.
Bluegrass Express, by Bluegrass Cat Last 3 Beyers: 90-90-79
◗ Has defeated New Yorkbreds in allowance races at Belmont and Saratoga.
◗ Winless in his lone start at seven furlongs.
Celtic Chaos, by Dublin Last 3 Beyers: 84-92-94
◗ Late-running sort typically gets a minor reward in these statebred stakes.