Two stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack on Sunday offer 21 colts and fillies the opportunity to close out their juvenile campaigns on a winning note in the $100,000 East View for New York-bred fillies and the $150,000 Great White Way Division of the New York Stallion Series.
A packed field of 13 colts and geldings eligible for the NYSS was entered in the six-furlong Great White Way, with the Todd Pletcher-trained entry of Spooked Out and the multiple stakes-winning Sudden Surprise tabbed as the 4-5 favorites in the featured eighth race.
Sudden Surprise, a bay son of Giant Surprise, has won four of five starts this year, three of them in stakes. The Repole Stable homebred broke his maiden at Saratoga Race Course in July and then came back four weeks later to post a front-running victory in the Funny Cide at 6 ½ furlongs. Upon his return to Belmont Park, Sudden Surprise eked out a neck victory in the Bertram F. Bongard, then suffered his first defeat when stretched out to a mile in the Sleepy Hollow, finishing fourth behind even-money favorite Get Jets.
He added his third stakes victory facing New York-breds again in the Notebook on November 21 at the Big A, winning by 1 ¾ lengths as the 3-10 favorite.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez is named to ride Sudden Surprise, who drew post position 4 under 122 pounds.
Spooked Out, who like Sudden Surprise is also entered in Saturday's Damon Runyon for New York-bred juveniles, boasts one victory in three starts in 2015, having broken his maiden on November 7 at Aqueduct, winning by 9 ½ lengths in his second start. Next sent off as the favorite in the King's Swan, he endured an eventful trip and wound up fourth as the favorite.
Javier Castellano was named to ride from post position 10.
Expected to attract support as well is the Nick Esler-trained Dr. Shane, runner-up to Sudden Surprise in the Notebook. The well-traveled son of Freud, owned and bred by Dutchess Views Farm, has been worse than third only once in seven starts this year, that being a seventh-place finish against open company in the Tremont, in which he was bumped twice and tired in the stretch. He bounced back to finish third in the Rockville Centre in July at Belmont and the Funny Cide, second in the Aspirant at Finger Lakes, and then remained upstate to win the New York Breeders' Futurity.
Dr. Shane, the second choice at 5-1 on the morning line, will tote 122 pounds, including Manny Franco. The pair is slated to depart from post position 13.
Heading the remainder of the field is Lucky Lurie, returning to the races after a five-month break. The Mark Hennig trainee, 8-1 on the morning line, broke his maiden in June at Belmont and has not raced since a second-place finish in the Rockville Centre. Jose Ortiz rides from post position 11.
Scheduled as Race 5, the one-mile, 70-yard East View has drawn a field of eight New York-bred fillies, with the trio of Absatootly, Backwood Bay and Singsong expected to vie for favoritism.
Tabbed as the 3-1 program choice, Absatootly will be facing winners for the first time, having broken her maiden at second asking on November 29 for trainer Charlton Baker. Backwood Bay,7-2 on the morning line and trained by Linda Rice – who also has entered B Three – will be making her third straight stakes appearance, having finished fifth and ninth, respectively, in the Seeking the Ante at the Spa and the Lady Finger at Finger Lakes.
The John Kimmel-trained Singsong, 4-1, will be making her stakes debut, having earned her way in with a front-running victory in a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer on December 18 at Aqueduct.
Rounding out the field are Out of Nowhere, Eloweasel, Flatware, and Riotworthy.
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