Sunny Ridge heads Gotham probables

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TwinSpires Staff

February 27th, 2016

Edited Press Release

Withers (G3) winner Sunny Ridge is expected to be a main contender in the next stop on the New York Triple Crown trail, the $400,000 Gotham (G3) on March 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

A gray New Jersey-bred gelding by Holy Bull, Sunny Ridge took to the inner track in game fashion in the Withers, returning from a solid juvenile season that was capped by a nose second in the Delta Jackpot (G3) on November 21.

Sunny Ridge, trained by Jason Servis, has already collected 18 points towards a berth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), including a runner-up to Greenpointcrusader in the Champagne (G1) last fall, and has a career record of 3-2-0 from six starts.

The undefeated Shagaf, set to venture north from sunny South Florida for trainer Chad Brown, will look to thwart a repeat victory by Sunny Ridge. Owned and bred by Shadwell Stable, who also campaigns leading Derby contender Mohaymen, the Bernardini colt avoided traffic and drew clear to win his November unveiling at Aqueduct by six lengths.

The Gotham, worth 50-20-10-5 points to the top four finishers towards a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May, is expected to serve as Matt King Coal's comeback race for the Linda Rice barn. Unraced since a 5 ¾-length maiden-breaking score at Belmont Park on October 29, the Florida-bred son of Cool Coal Man has worked steadily since returning to the worktab earlier this month, including a pair of six-furlong moves in mid-February.

Grade 3-placed Laoban is likely to make his East Coast debut. The maiden son of Uncle Mo will ship from his Los Alamitos training base, where he has posted three consecutive bullet works for trainer Eric Guillot.

Lightly-raced Adventist, third in the Withers, will look to improve his record in the Gotham for trainer Leah Gyarmati. By Any Given Sunday, Adventist graduated to the stakes level following an eye-catching, 11 ¼-length romp in a six-furlong maiden event over the Big A's inner track in December.

Also expected for the Gotham is the Mark Casse-trained Conquest Big E, a $700,000 yearling purchase who will be looking to rebound from a fourth in the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park; the Todd Pletcher-trained Rally Cry, a troubled third to Shagaf in the aforementioned Gulfstream allowance; and New York-bred Governor Malibu, who is expected to take on open company for the first time for Christophe Clement.

Get Jets is possible for trainer Tony Dutrow and Over a Beauty is possible for either the Gotham or Sunday's Jimmy Winkfield for the Rick Violette barn.

Sunny Ridge winning the Withers courtesy of Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography