OXO Equine’s Transect will look to announce his presence on the Kentucky Derby trail in Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham, at Aqueduct Racetrack. The one-turn mile for sophomores offers 50-20-15-10-5 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.
Trained by Paulo Lobo, the Gun Runner colt enters from a pair of wins sprinting 6 1/2-furlongs over Tapeta at Turfway Park – a debut score from off-the-pace on January 20 ahead of a gate-to-wire effort last out on February 10.
“He won both times and we really liked the way he won,” Lobo said. “The way that he galloped out last time, I think he is going to enjoy the mile.”
Transect has trained regularly over the dirt surface at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, Kentucky, including a five-eighths effort in 1:01.40 on Feb. 25.
“He works very well on it, so we made the decision to try the dirt this time,” Lobo said.
Lobo will be looking for his first Big A stakes score since Pico Central captured the 2004 Grade 1 Carter Handicap at the Big A as part of a memorable campaign that included Grade 1 wins in the Vosburgh and Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park.
“I remember that day well, it was very cold. Tapit won the Wood Memorial that day,” recalled Lobo. “Pico Central was a very good horse. He was the type of horse that makes us happy to get up in the morning.”
Joe Talamo will pilot Transect from post 7 on Saturday as part of an overflow field that includes a number of stretch-out speed types, but Lobo said he will leave strategy in the jockey’s capable hands.
“He has a good post in the middle, but that’s a decision Joe Talamo is going to have to make,” Lobo said. “I know it’s a deeper race, but I am confident he is going to run well over there.”
The $300,000 purchase from the 2020 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale is out of the A.P. Indy mare Divine Escapade, who is a half-sister to Grade 1-winner Mi Sueno.
Lobo trains a number of potential Kentucky Derby contenders for Larry Best’s OXO Equine, including Bromley, who is entered in Saturday’s John Battaglia Memorial, a 1 1/16-mile test at Turfway Park that offers 20-8-6-4-2 qualifying points to the top-five finishers.
The Mastery colt graduated on debut in November at Churchill Downs ahead of a sharp optional-claiming score sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs in December at Turfway Park. He stretched out to 1 1/16-miles last out in the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds and, after missing the break, he attended the early pace before faltering to a distant fifth.
“That day he did not break and he stumbled a little bit. He was very rank. I think we need to forget this race,” Lobo said. “He has been training super for this race and he knows the track. He won the first condition allowance here and the distance is not going to be a problem. He’s doing very well.”
A $450,000 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale weanling purchase, Bromley is out of the Malibu Moon mare Go Go Dana, who is a half-sister to graded-stakes winner Liam’s Dream. Bromley will leave post 10 under Gerardo Corrales.
OXO Equine’s Event Detail finished 10th with Corrales up in Saturday’s Grade 2 Rebel contested at 1 1/16-miles over a sloppy and sealed main track at Oaklawn Park.
The City of Light sophomore had entered from a 2 3/4-length graduation traveling one-mile at Turfway Park that garnered an 80 Beyer, but Lobo said the colt failed to handle the wet going in Arkansas.
“I think he hated the mud. The jockey said after the first half-mile the horse was done,” Lobo said. “He had very good numbers going into this race – good Beyers and good Ragozin numbers. He won very impressive here but he hated the mud, so let’s regroup.”
OXO Equine’s Itzos was last seen finishing seventh in the one-mile Leonatus on January 21 at Turfway Park. The Bolt d’Oro 3-year-old, out of the graded-stakes placed Roar mare Lotta Kim, is a half-brother to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.
“He was a little sick after this last race and he’s had a few works since, but we haven’t decided on anything yet for him,” Lobo said.
Itzos, purchased for $1.4 million at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, graduated at second asking sprinting 6 1/2-furlongs on December 29 at Turfway Park, besting next-out winner Brazen Boy by 1 1/2-lengths.
Lobo said a decision will be made in one month’s time on whether or not Bonne Chance Farm and Stud R.D.’s Grade 1-winner Ivar will return to racing action.
The 7-year-old Brazilian-bred son of Agnes Gold was a closing second last out, finishing three-quarters of a length back of Atone in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on January 28 at Gulfstream Park.
“He ran a very good race, but not enough to win it,” Lobo said. “He has been awesome for us. He’s always with Grade 1-winners. He’s run in 11 Grade 1s and he has never disappointed us. He’s a special horse.”
Ivar, who captured the 2020 Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland, boasts a record of 16-6-3-2 for purse earnings in excess of $1.5 million. He has made nine appearances in Grade 1 tilts in North America for a record of 1-3-1, in addition to taking a pair of Group 1 races in 2019 in Argentina before moving to Lobo’s care in Kentucky.