2023 Busher Invitational, Gotham Stakes & More Recaps

There were a couple of more striking Kentucky Derby markers put down over the weekend, but that shouldn’t detract from the performance of Raise Cain, who crushed his rivals when making his stakes breakthrough in the G3 Gotham at Aqueduct on Saturday, putting himself squarely into the picture for Churchill Downs. Also en route to Louisville is Shidabhuti, who made her stakes breakthrough as well and retained her unbeaten record when cruising home in the ungraded 2023 Busher Invitational. Elsewhere, the sprinter Little Vic signed for his first Graded win when landing the G3 Tom Fool.

KENTUCKY DERBY ODDS

2023 Gotham Stakes

Cain raises his game

G3, $300,000, 1m dirt, 3yo
There was a strong element of chaos about the Gotham, the feature at Aqueduct on Saturday, but Raise Cain rose above it to claim the 50 RTKD points on offer and book a spot in the gate for the Kentucky Derby, clearing right away to spring a 23-1 shock from Slip Mahoney and fellow longshot General Banker.

Gotham Stakes Race Video

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Raise Cain became the latest upset victor in the 2023 Gotham Stakes #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse #Sports #FYP

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Slip Mahoney, last at halfway and still well back on the turn, rallied hard for the ‘place’ slot a length and a half ahead of General Banker, who was also well back early. The favored Eyeing Clover, barn mate of the runner-up, stalked the early pace but could not quicken, coming home fourth.


On a muddy, sealed track, with a sizzling early pace, and with the presence of loose horse Howgreatisnate – who lost jockey JD Acosta a stride out of the gate – conflicting running plans for several of the field, it was all a bit of a mess. As soon as Raise Cain moved through under Jose Lezcano to take the lead in mid-stretch it was all over, and he drew off to win by seven and a half lengths. It was visually very impressive but may not amount to a great deal.


“Distance isn’t going to be a problem for him,” said trainer Ben Colebrook. “He’s very laid-back and getting better and better. He’s always had this sort of performance in him.”


This was the first win at stakes level for Raise Cain, who was cut to 40-1 for the Derby on the Jazz future book and will now be aimed at either the G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland or the G2 Wood Memorial back at the Big A, both races over a mile-eighth on April 8.

Gotham Stakes Payout

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Raise Cain$49.00$14.60$9.10
2. Slip Mahoney$6.70$4.70
3. General Banker$8.40

Winning time: 1m 38.09s

KENTUCKY DERBY ODDS

2023 Tom Fool Handicap

Vic makes it big

G3, $150,000, 6f dirt, 4yo+

It had been some time coming, but Little Vic nailed his first Graded victory at the fifth attempt when putting away joint favorites Runninsonofagun and Nakatomi to take the Tom Fool with a degree of comfort.

The 6-1 fourth-choice had been knocking on the door and it opened for him here, as he stalked the frantic pace laid down by front-runners Chateau and Pirate Rick, who went through the opening quarter in 21.92s, before turning up the heat as they exited the turn.

Little Vic was soon in front and was never seriously challenged, driving on to win by a length and a half with a neck separating the runner-up and third, who both rallied gamely but could never get within range of the winner. The result was a triumph for youth over experience, with the first three home all four-year-olds and the also-rans all aged six and up.

Tom Fool Handicap Race Video

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“He ran very well and finished off his race strongly,” said jockey Carlos Olivero, who like his mount was recording his first success at the Graded level. “Everything worked out well and I’m very happy, this is a big win for me.”

It was the third time’s a charm for Little Vic, who had finished second on his two previous starts at Aqueduct. Aided by the sizzling early pace, Little Vic – owned by former major league baseball player Victor Martinez – posted the fastest time for six furlongs at the Big A winter meet, and his trainer Juan Avila may bring him back for the G1 Carter over seven furlongs on April 8.

Tom Fool Handicap Payout

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Little Vic$15.00$5.00$3.30
2. Runninsonofagun$4.20$2.90
3. Nakatomi$2.80

2023 Busher Invitational

Shidabhuti stars for Brown

Ungraded, $200,000, 1m dirt, 3yo fillies

If it’s a distaff contest in New York, turf or the main track, then Chad Brown is always going to be the name to watch and he pulled down the exacta in the 2023 Busher Invitational, with Shidabhuti outrunning her odds-on barn mate Asset Purchase and second-choice Capella to announce her candidacy for the Kentucky Oaks.

Shidabhuti, the 5-1 fourth-choice, was stretching her unbeaten streak to three on her first start at stakes level, and sat back as Ziaerati and Asset Purchase set the pace. Asset Purchase went for home off the turn and opened up a big advantage with three-sixteenths to travel, but Shidabhuti was flying down the center of the track and she inhaled her barn mate with a sixteenth to run, easing away to win by two lengths.

Busher Invitational Race Video

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Shidabhuti wins the 2023 Busher Invitational on a muddy Aqueduct track #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Sports #FYP

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“It took her a while to get running, to build that momentum up, and then she was able to finish it off,” said jockey Dylan Davis. “Once we straightened up, she really found her stride.”

Asset Purchase came in a length and a quarter ahead of the rallying Capella, with Ziaerati dropping away to finish fourth.

“She’s improving,” said Brown, who won the Busher two years ago with subsequent Kentucky Oaks runner-up Search Results. “And she should continue to improve with distance.”

Shidabhuti will get the opportunity to prove the veracity of that statement in the G3 Gazelle back at the Big A over a mile-eighth on April 8. She earned 50 RTKO points here, which should assure her of a place in the line-up for the Kentucky Oaks on the first Friday in May.

Busher Invitational Payout

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Shidabhuti$12.60$4.50$2.60
2. Asset Purchase$2.90$2.10
3. Capella$2.50

Winning time: 1m 39.03s

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