Fields of seven were drawn for the Aqueduct fall meet’s two leading features for two-year-olds, the $250,000 Remsen (G2) and $250,000 Demoiselle (G2) for fillies, both of which will be run over 1 1/8 miles on Saturday.
Last year’s Remsen turned out to be one of its strongest renewals in recent years, with eventual Belmont S. (G1) winner Mo Donegal edging future Grade 1 star Zandon in a photo. For this year’s edition, the Oct. 15 Rocky Run S. at Delaware Park and the Oct. 30 Sleep Hollow S. for New York-breds at Aqueduct supply four of the entrants.
Tuskegee Airmen, a dominating winner of both starts, won the one-mile Rocky Run by 3 1/4 lengths over Midnight Trouble. The speedy Arctic Arrogance was no less impressive winning the one-mile Sleepy Hollow, putting 4 1/2 lengths between himself and returning rival Quick to Accuse.
“Mentally, the light hasn’t gone on yet, but he has flashed some talent,” trainer John Servis said of Tuskegee Airmen. “His last race at the three-eighths pole, I didn’t think he was going to beat a horse. He dropped back under a drive and it looked like he was finished and all of a sudden, he went back to running again. We’re letting him bring himself along at his pace. He’s doing it all on raw talent and the sky is the limit.”
Prove Right, who has had the benefit of eight starts already, finishing a tiring third when stretching out to a mile in the Nov. 6 Nashua (G3). Dubyuhnell and Il Miracolo both enter off maiden wins over one-turn miles.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has won the last two editions of the Demoiselle with Malathaat and Nest, has two in this year’s race. One is Malathaat’s full sister, Julia Shining, who overcame a slow start to win on debut by 2 3/4 lengths at Keeneland over an extended seven furlongs. Pletcher’s other entry is the New York-bred stakes winner Gambling Girl.
“I thought she was kind of hopeless at the five-eighths pole,” Pletcher said of Julia Shining’s first race. “She did what a lot of first timers do when they get hit with that wave of dirt. She was just climbing trying to get away from it. Finally, when Luis (Saez) pulled her out, she made that huge middle wide move that was impressive, but most horses who do that kind of hang in the end. For her to keep going and polish it off was impressive.”
Others expected to get a little play are Tempted S. runner-up Foggy Night and Royal Spa, who graduated at first asking on Nov. 18 at Churchill Downs.