El Kabeir switches tactics, rallies to win Gotham going away

Profile Picture: James Scully

March 7th, 2015

El Kabeir displayed a new dimension in Saturday’s $400,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, closing from well off the pace to post a convincing win.

The 1 1/16-mile race served as a Kentucky Derby qualifier and El Kabeir vaulted to the top of the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with the 50-point winner’s share, increasing his total to 75 points.  There will be no pressure in his final prep race, most likely the April 4 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, because El Kabeir is guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Derby field.

Owned by Zayat Stables and trained by John Terranova, the gray son of Scat Daddy was in no rush leaving the Gotham starting gate with jockey C.C. Lopez despite winning the Kentucky Jockey Club wire to wire last fall and registering century-topping BRIS Early Pace ratings into most of his previous seven starts. El Kabeir was ninth of 10 runners rounding the first turn and didn’t begin to make serious headway until the far turn, advancing along the inside.

Lopez swung the colt four wide turning for home and El Kabeir quickly overhauled the leaders with about a furlong remaining – the only question at that point was how many lengths he would win by. He stopped the teletimer in 1:45.56 over the muddy inner track.

Tiz Shea B rallied up the inside in deep stretch to claim second, edging third-placer Classy Class.

El Kabeir earned 10 points for the aforementioned Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs in late November and another 10 points when opening his sophomore campaign with a front-running victory in the January 3 Jerome at Aqueduct. He also picked up four points finishing second in his most recent outing, the February 7 Withers at Aqueduct, as well as a point for a fourth in the Champagne Stakes last October.

His career record now reads 8-4-2-1.