Jeremiah Englehart's stable of roughly 120 horses includes about 60 percent New York-breds, so it's no surprise that the second-generation trainer has his eyes on a pair of $500,000 prizes Dec. 14-15 at Aqueduct when the finales of the New York Stallion Stakes Series – the Great White Way division for 2-year-old males and Fifth Avenue division for 2-year-old fillies – are contested. Each will be run at seven furlongs.
The NYSSS, consisting of 10 races that began in the spring for 3-year-olds, carries total purses of $2.3 million, doubling the $1,150,000 allocated by the New York Breeding and Development Fund, New York Thoroughbred Breeders and New York Racing Association in 2018. Purses for the Great White Way and Fifth Avenue jumped to a half-million dollars from $150,000 in 2018.
“That much money has really brought some awareness to getting a 2-year-old developed for these races,” said Englehart. “Toward the middle of Saratoga, knowing those races were there, you begin to point for them.”
Englehart has two he's aiming for the Great White Way division, unbeaten Sleepy Hollow Stakes winner Captain Bombastic (by Forty Tales) for Team Hanley and Moonachie (by Central Banker) for former NFL coach Bill Parcells' August Dawn Farm. He's got Tequilla Fog (by Giant Surprise), claimed by Michael Dubb for $50,000 out of a winning maiden claiming effort on Sept. 15, in mind for the Fifth Avenue.
Moonachie won at first asking during the Saratoga meet, then broke slowly and rushed up to reach contention as the favorite in the Bertram F. Bongard before fading in deep stretch to be fourth. Englehart plans to run Moonachie once in November to prep for the NYSSS Great White Way division.
“Every year this program gets stronger,” Englehart said. “You're seeing more New York-breds running in open races, whether they are stakes or graded stakes. They also really help NYRA through the winter and carry the cards throughout the year.”
As for Moonachie's owner, Englehart said Parcells is “all in” as a Thoroughbred owner.
“He probably approaches ownership the way he coached his players,” Englehart said. “He is very meticulous in planning, making sure we are in good condition and in the right races. We talk every day.”
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