How to bet the Gotham Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

March 5th, 2020

Handicapping Saturday’s $300,000 Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct boils down to one key question—is #6 Mischevious Alex the real deal?

Mischevious Alex looms as a formidable presence in this 1-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race. Trained by John Servis for the partnership of Cash is King and LC Racing, Mischevious Alex showed flashes of talent in his first four starts, but elevated his game when he wore blinkers for the 7-furlong Parx Juvenile S. After he carved out a fast pace, Mischevious Alex powered clear to win by 9 3/4 lengths and posted a 97 Brisnet Speed rating.

It might have been easy to declare Mischevious Alex’s blowout victory a fluke, but following a three-month break, the son of Into Mischief returned to action in the 7-furlong Swale (G3) at Gulfstream Park and delivered an even more impressive performance.

Despite a troubled start from post 1, Mischevious Alex recovered to duel for the lead through testing fractions of :22.41 and :45.02. Many horses would have cracked under the pressure, but Mischevious Alex found another gear in the homestretch and pulled away to score by seven lengths, for a 99 Brisnet Speed rating.

Mischevious Alex’s pedigree is geared toward speed, so it isn’t surprising to see him excel in sprints, but the one-turn mile of the Gotham should be within his distance capabilities. He signaled his readiness for another big effort with a bullet, half-mile breeze in :47 1/5 Feb. 25 at Palm Meadows. Post 6 will afford jockey Kendrick Carmouche plenty of opportunities to work out a clean trip.

I’m inclined to view Mischevious Alex as the horse to beat in the Gotham, and I’ll play the race accordingly. For the purpose of exotic wagers, like the trifecta, I’ll key Mischevious Alex on top and hope he is the real deal.

Underneath I’ll emphasize the impressive maiden winners #3 War Stopper (who won over the track and distance of the Gotham on Jan. 11) and #4 Attachment Rate (a romping winner of a one-turn mile at Gulfstream last month). We’ll also add #7 Sixto, #8 Montauk Traffic, and #9 Flap Jack to the mix, with hopes to land a bigger price for second or third.

$2 trifecta: 6 with 3,4 with 3,4,7,8,9 ($16)
$2 trifecta: 6 with 3,4,7,8,9 with 3,4 ($16)

Good luck!