Gold for the King ready to go

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Front Page - By David Gren­ing

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.

KEY CON­TENDERS

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.

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