Newly minted graded stakes winner Life in Shambles will look to close out his 2018 campaign on a strong note headlining a field of six in the $100,000 Gravesend for 3-year-olds and upward going six furlongs on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Claimed by trainer Jason Servis for owner Ara Aprahamian on July 7 at Belmont Park, the 7-year-old gelding has made three starts for his new connections including back-to-back wins in his last two starts highlighted by a 3/4-length score in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap on November 22 in which he bested fellow Gravesend entrants Always Sunshine and Runaway Lute.
“He's really been a great horse to have since he's been in the barn,” said Henry Argueta, assistant to Servis. “We've been targeting this race since his win in the Fall Highweight, and he's been training very well going into Sunday.”
Drawing the rail, Life in Shambles will be ridden by Jose Lezcano.
Gold for the King arrives at the Gravesend from an impressive 9 ¼ length victory in the Thunder Rumble division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes on November 18 for trainer Charlie Baker and owner Francis Paolangeli.
A 4-year-old New York-bred, the Posse gelding has four wins from five starts at the Big A with one second-place finish to go along with three wins from five starts at the distance with a pair of seconds.
The ultra-consistent bay will be cutting back a panel from seven furlongs for the first time since June of 2017 at Finger Lakes when he finished second by a head in the Ontario County.
“He ran a big race last time and he's come back and trained great coming into this race,” said Baker. “We're hoping he can do the same here. Seven furlongs might be his best distance, but he's training well and loves Aqueduct, so we'll take our shot in here.”
Gold for the King will depart from post 5 with Joel Rosario in the irons.
Looking to rebound off a fifth-place finish in the Fall Highweight is Runaway Lute for trainer Gary Contessa and owners Harold Lerner and Nehoc Stables.
A 4-year-old New York-bred son of Midnight Lute, the dark bay colt has collected two wins from four starts this year, including a 4 1/4-length win on July 4 at Belmont Park in which he recorded a 104 Beyer Speed Figure.
Prior to running in the Fall Highweight, he captured the Hudson on October 20 at Belmont.
“He didn't run his race last time at all in the Fall Highweight, so were going to put a line through that race,” said Contessa. “He ran his race in the paddock getting all worked up. This time around we've brought him over to Aqueduct from Belmont for the week to get him more acquainted to his surroundings so we're hoping for him run to his ability.”
Runaway Lute will leave from post 3 with Junior Alvarado.
Rounding out the field is Fall Highweight third-place finisher Always Sunshine for Stonehedge LLC and trainer Ed Allard; Skyler's Scramjet for trainer Michelle Nevin and owner SJB Stable; and Recruiting Ready for Sagamore Farm and trainer Stanley Hough.
Every day during the month of December, NYRA Bets members who place wagers on Aqueduct will receive a three percent rebate. For more information on the NYRA Bets December three percent bonus, visit NYRABets.com.
First post time on Sunday's 9-race card is 12:20 p.m. with the Gravesend slated as Race 8.
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