Cutting back from 1 1/8 miles to one mile might not overly enhance the long term Kentucky Derby (G1) credentials of Arctic Arrogance, but it could prove exactly what the New York-bred gray needs to win the $150,000 Jerome S. at Aqueduct on Saturday.
One of eight three-year-olds in the Jerome, the speedy son of Frosted enters off a second-place finish in the Dec. 3 Remsen (G2) over nine furlongs. Arctic Arrogance led much of the way but was collared late by Dubyuhnell, who edged clear by a half-length in sloppy going.
“I thought he was at a bit of a disadvantage because he was pinned on the rail in a pool of water, but it was a great effort,” trainer Linda Rice said. “He didn’t get beat far and it was a long way back to third.”
The Remsen was the first start in open company for Arctic Arrogance, who had broken his maiden against state-bred foes at Saratoga and captured the one-mile Sleepy Hollow S. at Aqueduct following a second-place run in the Bertram F. Bongard S. over seven furlongs.
Lugan Knight also figures to be well liked in the betting. The son of Goldencents graduated at Keeneland second out for trainer Michael McCarthy going 6 1/2 furlongs, and last time finished third in a six-furlong allowance at Churchill Downs to Victory Formation, winner of the Smarty Jones S. at Oaklawn Park last weekend.
Besides Arctic Arrogance, there are several other New York-bred contenders. Chad Brown will saddle Neural Network, who won on debut against state-bred company by five lengths going seven furlongs on Nov. 13.
“He’s a New York-bred, but he trains like he can handle open company and it looks like the longer the better,” Brown said.
The speedy Andiamo a Firenze has more experience, having won the Funny Cide S. and placing second by a nose in the New York Breeders Futurity. However, he lost significant ground in the final furlong in his two prior runs against open foes, weakening to third in the Sanford (G3) and fourth in the Champagne (G1).
Longer shots include General Banker, easy winner of a New York Stallion S. race last time, and Circling the Drain, Valenzan Day, and Narcisco Dali, all of whom exit wins in the claiming ranks.
The Jerome will award Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 10-4-3-2-1 to the respective top five finishers.