Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Isolate has done no wrong in his first two career starts and puts a perfect record on the line when shipping to New York for Sunday’s 44th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Nashua going a one-turn mile at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The stakes event for juvenile colts pays homage to Belair Stud’s winner of the 1955 Preakness and Belmont Stakes trained by Hall of Famer Sunny “Jim” Fitzsimmons. Notching two American classic triumphs in addition to victories in the Florida Derby, Wood Memorial and Jockey Club Gold Cup earned Nashua Horse of the Year honors that year and induction into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1965. He parlayed his talent to some of his offspring including Hall of Fame distaffers Shuvee as well as Gold Digger – the dam of prolific sire-of-sires Mr. Prospector.
Trained by Kathy Ritvo, Isolate did just as his name suggested in his last-out gate-to-wire effort where he defeated winners over a sloppy main track at Gulfstream Park by 10 lengths, while garnering a 79 Beyer Speed Figure.
The Florida-bred son Mark Valeski was a three-quarter length winner against his Sunshine State-bred counterparts in a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight on August 6 at Gulfstream, where he defeated next out-winner and subsequent stakes winner Poppy’s Pride.
“He had a really tough trip in his first race but he managed to find an opening and won the race,” said Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Dean Reeves. “In the slop he pretty well dominated the field. He hasn’t had a nice trip on the dirt where he can really show his talent, but we’re hopeful all will go well on Sunday and see how we stack up against some good horses.”
Isolate has been training forwardly into his stakes debut, recording a five-furlong bullet in 1:00.20 on October 24 over a fast main track at Gulfstream Park.
“He’s one of those that you have to be careful with because he’ll go too fast,” Reeves said. “He put in two really good works and did what he needed to do. It’s a long trip, but so far the reports I’m getting is that he’s doing fine. He’s a tough and mature horse for a 2-year-old.”
Bred by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Isolate is the sixth offspring out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Tranquil Song, who has produced four other winners. He was bought for $70,000 from the Keeneland November Sale in 2018.
“Jimmy Gladwell picked him out as a weanling,” Reeves said. “He’s got a great eye for a horse and we really liked him ever since we got him. He’s developed into a nice horse so far.”
Jockey Cristian Torres will be back aboard from post 5 after piloting the colt to his impressive last out win.
Invading from Pennsylvania is Parx maiden winner Irish Honor who won on debut on October 28 for trainer Joseph Taylor.
Owned by Chuck Zacney’s Cash Is King Racing, LC Racing and Ho Dee Boy Stable, the son of second crop sire Honor Code will arrive at the Nashua off just over a week’s rest after a 1 ¾-length victory over a wet-fast main track at Parx.
“He’s always trained like a real nice horse,” Taylor said. He’s calm and he takes everything in stride. First time I entered him, I scratched him because the track came up sloppy. When we ran him last time, he missed the break a tad. When he came around the turn, we saw the length in his stride. I was talking to [Cash Is King owner] Chuck [Zacney] this morning, It’s coming back quick but he seems to have a lot of energy. It’s a short field so we’re giving him a shot.”
Jockey Pablo Morales will ride from post 3.
Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, who saddled 1997 Nashua winner and subsequent multiple Grade 1-winner Coronado’s Quest, sends out impressive maiden special weight winner Ten for Ten in pursuit of a second Nashua triumph.
Owned by Donald and Donna Adam’s Courtlandt Farms, the gray or roan son of first crop sire Frosted led at every point of call en route to an eight-length maiden score at second asking when traveling 1 1/16-miles over a sloppy main track on October 16 at Belmont Park. The maiden win earned a 78 Beyer.
Ten for Ten was off a step slow on debut and raced from four or five lengths off the pace en route to finishing second in a six-furlong maiden special weight on September 7 at Saratoga.
Purchased for $410,000 from the Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency consignment at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Ten for Ten is out of the Eskendereya mare Summer Vacation – a half-sister to Grade 1-winner and graded stakes producing sire Creative Cause as well as Grade 1-winning distaffers Vexatious and multiple graded stakes winner Destin.
Jockey Eric Cancel will pilot Ten for Ten from the inside post.
Following a debut win, Nova Rags will attempt to make his first start against stakes company a winning one for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
Owned and bred by Michael Shanley, the chestnut son of Union Rags bobbled at the start of his debut but arrived in time for a three-quarter-length score in a six-furlong maiden special weight on October 10 over a fast main track at Belmont Park.
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche will be aboard from post 2.
Completing the field are Pickin’ Time [post 4, Trevor McCarthy], Civil War [post 6, Nik Juarez] and Spectatorless [post 7, Ferrin Peterson].
The Nashua is slated as Race 9 on Sunday’s 10-race program, which offers a first post of 11:50 a.m. Eastern. America’s Day at the Races will present daily television coverage of the 27-day fall meet on FOX Sports and MSG Networks. For the complete America’s Day at the Races broadcast schedule, and additional programming information, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
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