2023 Carter Handicap Recap & More Aqueduct Graded Stakes

This past weekend at Aqueduct saw a fantastic Easter card which was headlined by one of America’s oldest horse races. Here is our 2023 Carter Handicap Recap.

A field of six horses lined up for this year’s renewal, with the progressive Repo Rocks starting the race as the favorite. However, this wouldn’t be Repo Rocks day as a shock would unfold as one of the outsiders of the field, Doppelganger, would swoop late to win the biggest prize of his career. 

It wasn’t just the Carter Handicap where a valuable prize was won. Also, up for grabs on Saturday’s packed card were three Grade 3 races, the Distaff Handicap, the Bay Shore Stakes, and the Gazelle Stakes. 

The Distaff is another race that has become a fixture at Aqueduct and some quality fillies and mares were aiming to add their names to the impressive list of former winners. 

Rossa Veloce was hoping to add to her impressive recent wins by landing her first Graded Stakes contest. Instead, racegoers witnessed yet another shock as the Linda Rice trained Mommasgottarun made her move around the home turn and held on for a game and deserved victory. 

The Bay Shore Stakes will live long in folklore as it was the first race that Secretariat ever won. A field of seven was attempting to add their names to the race’s famous roll of honor and favorite backers were finally rewarded with yet another Linda Rice winner. 

Joey Freshwater had shown some signs of promise in Allowance company before the race, and under a super ride from Kendrick Carmouche was able to set the fractions and complete a gritty win to land the first graded race of his fledging young career. 

The final graded action from Aqueduct’s Saturday card came in the form of the Gazelle Stakes. In keeping with most of the card, we witnessed yet another shock as the complete outsider of the race Promiseher America pulled off the win to land the spoils at odds of +2500. Rarely considered before the race, she was able to hold off the challenge of two strongly fancied Chad Brown runners Shidabhuti and Occult to come away with the victory. 

2023 Carter Handicap Recap

Grade 1, Dirt, seven furlongs, open to horses aged three and over. Total prize pool: $300,000

  1. Doppelgänger +1200
  2. Repo Rocks +138
  3. Expressman +700

Winning time: 1:23.25

Looking for his fifth straight victory it was the Jamie Ness trained Repo Rocks who was the favorite for this year’s renewal of the Carter Handicap. 

A fast and furious sprint over seven furlongs, it was the George Weaver trained Today’s Flavor who picked up the early running and would ensure the race would be run at a brisk pace. 

With others clearly concerned that Today’s Flavor could get away from them, several horses decided to make their move as they approached the home turn. The most prominent mover was Little Vic who was able to side his way alongside the long-time leader as the field hit the furlong pole. Tucked in just behind the front two were the pair of Repo Rocks and Expressman. 

With Today’s Flavor starting to feel the pinch, the race suddenly flipped in an instant and every horse at the front had a sudden chance of success. With gaps appearing across the track, it was Doppelganger who had the smoothest finish. Finding his way to the Grandstand side of the track, he was able to power his way past flagging rivals and would go onto steal the race by a length. 

Despite their best efforts, Repo Rocks and Expressman would finish in a narrow second and third, with the game Today’s Flavor able to cling onto fourth place.

Carter Handicap Payouts

PositionHorseWin PlaceShow
1Doppelganger$37.80$7.80$4.40
2Repo Rocks$2.90$2.30
3Expressman$3.40

Carter Handicap Race Video

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2023 Distaff Handicap

Grade 3, Dirt, seven furlongs, open to fillies and mares aged four and over. Total prize pool: $200,000

  1. Mommasgottarun +550
  2. Funny How +275
  3. Hydra +4000

Winning time: 1:25.29

Seven horses made their way down to post for the renewal of this year’s Distaff Handicap. Rob Atras headed into the contest with Rossa Veloce expected to stamp her class on the rest of the field following two successive victories heading into the race. 

With many expecting a strong run from the favorite, her race was over before it began. As the gates opened, she didn’t emerge with the rest of the field, losing six lengths to her rivals. With Rossa Veloce playing catchup, it was the other class angle of the race Gerrymander who took up the early proceedings.

Holding the lead up until the home turn, she was relentlessly chased by Hydra, Easy To Bless, and Meravigliso. With Rossa Veloce swiftly improving on the wide outside, five horses were strewn across the track as the field hit the home turn.

Despite the race being loaded at the front, it was none of these horses would end up being victorious. 

Happy to bide his time, Eric Cancel on board Mommasgottarun made his move just off the home turn. Easily traveling like the best horse in the contest, there was nothing but a clear track ahead of her as she surged into a comfortable lead.

Kicking again at the furlong pole, the race was sewn up a long way from home. 

Funny How was the one giving chase, staying on gamely from the back of the pack but would end up finishing second by two lengths. Of the front runners, it was Hydra who was able to grind it out the best, finishing third at a huge price.

Distaff Handicap Payouts

PositionHorseWin PlaceShow
1Mommagottarun$16.00$5.70$3.40
2Funny How$4.20$2.90
3Hydra$13.00

Distaff Handicap Race Video

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Mommasgottarun wins the 2023 Distaff Handicap #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse #FYP #Sports

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Bay Shore Stakes

Grade 3, Dirt, seven furlongs, open to horses aged three years old. Total prize pool: $200,000

  1. Joey Freshwater +250
  2. Gilmore +400
  3. Victory Way +250

Winning time: 1:24.91

Saturday was a fantastic day for Linda Rice who bagged herself another Grade 3 winner on the card thanks to Joey Freshwater. 

Heading into the race as one of the joint favorites, he was looking to win his first graded contest following some promising performances in allowance company earlier this year.

Always up with the pace, Joey Freshwater’s jockey made his move just before the home turn and rounded the turn in front. Hitting the home straight with the lead, the only thing that would stop him from securing victory would be himself.

With the experienced Kendrick Carmouche in the saddle, there would be no letting up and Joey Freshwater would bag this famous race by just over a length. 

Despite finishing second, Gilmore, for Brendan Walsh ran a cracker. Looking dead and buried at the turn, he flew home at a real rattle to just be denied. A crack over a mile looks the next logical step and he could be one to keep an eye on in future races. Victory Way did exceptionally well to hang on for a well-earned third.

Bay Shore Stakes Payouts

PositionHorseWin PlaceShow
1Joey Freshwater$8.30$3.80$2.60
2Gilmore$4.20$2.90
3Victory Way$2.60

Bay Shore Stakes Race Video

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Joey Freshwater takes the 2023 Bay Shore #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse #FYP #Sports

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Gazelle Stakes

Grade 3, Dirt, 1 1/8 mile, open to three-year-old fillies. Total prize pool: $250,000

  1. Promiseher America +2500
  2. Gambling Girl +700
  3. Shidabhuti +275

Winning time: 1:51.41

The question heading into the final graded contest of the card was whether it would be Chad Brown or Todd Pletcher who would win this year’s Gazelle Stakes. With the two trainers saddling four of the six runners, it was Occult for Brown who was looking to land a third consecutive race, his first at Graded level. 

Stablemate Shidabhuti was the second favorite with the Pletcher trained Frosty O’Toole rounding out the top three.

With many expecting a rip-roaring battle between two of America’s finest barns, Raymond Handel had other ideas. 

His horse Promiseher America started the race as the complete outsider but showed a level of class far above his pre-race status.

Always up with the pace, Promiseher America’s jockey Jorge Vargas always had his mount nestled in second throughout much of the race.

With the front running Capella ceding ground as the field rounded the home turn, it was Promiseher America who found herself in the lead at the top of the home straight.

Showing a superb level of grit, she first fended off the challenge of Occult, before then bravely denying the other Brown runner Shidabhuti. The main danger as the post loomed was the fast-finishing Gambling Girl. With the Pletcher runner gaining with every stride, Promiseher America desperately needed the line and in a huge relief to his connections, it came.

Winning by a neck, it was a superb training performance by Handel. Gambling Girl looks like one to follow in the future and she cemented her clear promise with a solid second, Shidabhuti did the best of the Brown runners hanging on for third.

Gazelle Stakes Payouts

PositionHorseWin PlaceShow
1Promiseher America$55.00$22.60$8.20
2Gambling Girl$7.70$4.40
3Shidabhuti$3.40

Gazelle Stakes Race Video

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Promiseher America wins the 2023 Gazelle Stakes #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse #FYP #Sports

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