January 27, 2023

Jump stars Snap Decision, The Mean Queen highlight Aqueduct opener

Snap Decision (Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photography)

The nation’s leading jumper and last year’s champion in the hurdling division will be making separate appearances when racing resumes at Aqueduct on Thursday.

The feature on the day is the $150,000 Lonesome Glory H. (G1), in which Snap Decision is the early 2-5 favorite. However, some of the afternoon spotlight will also be on the 2021 champion jumper The Mean Queen as she makes her belated season debut in the $75,000 William Entenmann Novice S.

Snap Decision will look to pull of his third Grade 1 win of the year in the 2 1/2-mile Lonesome Glory after crushing his rivals in the May 14 Iroquois (G1) by 7 1/4 lengths and the Aug. 17 Jonathan Sheppard H. (G1) by 13 lengths. Snap Decision will carry 168 pounds in the Lonesome Glory, conceding a minimum of 18 pounds to his rivals.

“He’s doing better than ever and I think he’s a much better horse than he was last year,” trainer Jack Fisher said.

Iranistan upset Snap Decision in the Temple Gwathmey (G2) back in April, but failed to finish the Iroquois and was found to have bled when finishing unplaced as the favorite in the A.P. Smithwick Memorial (G1) in July.

“He bled in the Smithwick, but he’s never bled before, so we believe it was a one-off thing,” trainer Keri Brion said. “He’s gone to the hyperbaric chamber and we’ve done some things, so he’s back and it will be good to see him back over 2 1/2 miles.” 

Also in the field of eight is Redicean, a distant third in the 2021 Lonesome Glory at Belmont behind The Mean Queen and Snap Decision, and in the Sheppard last time.

The Mean Queen, who became only the second female ever to be named champion jumper last season, remains eligible for a race like the Entenmann having not won over hurdles prior to March 1, 2021. The Brion trainee won five of six last season, including the Sheppard, Lonesome Glory, and Grand National (G1), the latter two over Snap Decision.

“She hasn’t run in 10 months and it seems like the most logical decision,” Brion said. “She gets a good weight in this so it’s her run to get her going again. She’s ready to go.”

Sheppard runner-up Going Country has also been entered in the Entenmann, a 2 3/8-mile hurdle.

The Entenmann and Lonesome Glory will be the first jump races held at Aqueduct since 1974.