3-year-old sprinters get showcase in Jimmy Winkfield
By Bob Ehalt
A week ago, the Triple Crown set occupied center stage at Aqueduct.
On Saturday at the Big A, 3-year-olds will once again be featured in the day’s stakes race, but there’s a big difference between these sophomores and those sophomores – namely three or four furlongs.
Unlike last week’s mile-and-an-eighth Withers, the $150,000 Jimmy Winkfield for 3-year-olds is a six-furlong sprint for runners with distance limitations. As a result, the chances of seeing a horse advance from the Winkfield to the Kentucky Derby are about as remote as hitting the Pick 6 with a single $2 ticket.
That being said, the Winkfield should provide an interesting dead-of-winter stakes in frigid New York.
The 2-1 favorite is Devine Entry, who is coming off a runner-up finish in the Heft Stakes at Laurel in late December. The seven-furlong test marked only the third dirt race for Devine Entry, who started his career with four starts on turf for trainer Linda Rice. In that trio of main track starts, the son of Point of Entry has a win and two seconds.
At 5-2 is California Night, who was entered in last weekend’s Withers but was scratched. The Winkfield seems a much better fit for the Midnight Lute colt who won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden sprint in his lone start.
Global Citizen (4-1) has a similar resume as California Night, except he won his debut at six furlongs at Laurel.
A Different Style (7-2) has more experience than the two maiden winners, with two wins in his four career starts, yet he is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Heft. He finished 9 ½ lengths behind Diamond King.
Prior to the Heft, A Different Style won Laurel’s James F. Lewis III Stakes.
The field of seven also includes Glennwood (30-1), Jumpmaster (6-1) and Smooth B (15-1).
Three-year-olds will also be featured in Sunday’s featured race at Aqueduct, the $100,000 Rego Park for New York State-breds.
Stoney Bennett, Battle Station and New York Hero are expected to vie for favoritism in the six-furlong sprint that attracted five starters.
Analyze Your Luck and Morning Breez round out the small field.