Originally scheduled to ship from trainer Jeremiah O'Dwyer's Midatlantic base to Churchill Downs last weekend for the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, Shotski was scratched due to the soggy weather forecast. The 2-year-old son of Blame proved O'Dwyer's decision a great one when he won this Saturday's G3 Remsen at odds of 8-1. Ridden by jockey Luis Saez, Shotski grabbed the lead right out of the gate at Aqueduct and never relinquished it, pulling away by nearly four lengths in the stretch and holding on to win by a half-length over Ajaaweed (4-1) at the wire. Shotski ran the nine furlongs over a fast main track in 1:54.24.
“We discussed beforehand and Adam [Wachtel, co-owner] is great with analysis and we found that we might be on the front end which we didn't mind,” O'Dwyer said. “He's a very laid back horse so I knew he would relax with no problem. Luis [Saez, jockey] said that he did everything right. He doesn't do any more than he's asked, but when you ask him he's there for you.”
The victory earns Shotski, owned by Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, Pantofel Stable and Mike Karty, his first 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
“I looked at his pedigree and thought, 'Why can't he go long?'” said co-owner Adam Wachtel. “He had relatives that go long. He's such a beautiful mover and so we sent him to Kentucky [for the Street Sense] and he ran great there. He got caught wide and he had every right to quit and didn't. That was a great field in the Street Sense. The horse that finished in front of him [Silver Prospector] won the Kentucky Jockey Club.”
Shotski broke well from the center of the nine-horse field, and went past the inside-drawn Chase Tracker to grab the lead under Saez. He had early pressure from Prince James down the backstretch, hounded through fractions of :24.26 and :50.08. Chase Tracker settled in third along the rail, while the late-running Ajaweed was at the back of the first pack in seventh.
Saez shook the reins at Shotski at the five-sixteenths pole, and the colt quickly drew clear of his rivals by almost four lengths. Though he appeared tired in the final eighth of a mile, Shotski had enough left to fend off the fast-closing Ajaweed by a half-length at the wire. Chase Tracker ran evenly to finish third, and longshot Informative hung on for fourth.
“I knew it was important to get position coming into today,” Saez said. “I knew he had speed and he broke well. We were able to break on top and he just did it so easy. He really came into this race in good shape and was fit.”
Bred in Kentucky by Springland Farm & Prime Bloodstock, Shotski is out of the Bluegrass Cat mare She Cat. The half-brother to a pair of six-figure earners hammered for a bargain $25,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale last year, and won at second asking for O'Dwyer. A decent fourth in the listed Street Sense Stakes put Shotski firmly on the Derby trail, and the Remsen win improves his overall record to two wins from four starts with earnings of nearly $180,000.
“I was just talking to Aron Wellman and we would like to avoid their monster [Independence Hall] and I know they're going to the Jerome,” Wachtel said when asked about future plans for Shotski. “I'd rather not run against him. Off this big effort, I'm not in a rush to find a next spot for him. We'll see how he comes out of it. We'll keep all options open.”
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