Newstome tops Aqueduct’s Jimmy Wakefield
By NY Hot List
Trainer Michael Trombetta figures to have his hands full Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs saddling Independence Hall in the Sam F. Davis Stakes.
Yet while he focuses on his Kentucky Derby candidate, he’ll also be casting a few glances at television monitors to keep tabs on what’s happening at Aqueduct.
Trombetta will be represented in another, albeit less crucial, stakes Saturday when he sends out Newstome in the featured $100,000 Jimmy Wakefield Stakes at Aqueduct.
A 3-year-old, Newstome is the lone stakes winner in the field of seven, having captured the J. F. Lewis III Stakes at Laurel in November. Prior to that, he won the Mark McDermott Stakes on synthetics at Presque Isle Downs.
In his most recent start, Newstome was third when he was stretched out to seven furlongs for the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes at Parx in December.
Newstome’s two stakes wins were at the same six furlong distance as the Jimmy Wakefield.
“We’ve been delighted with him and he’s certainly exceeded our expectations,” Trombetta said. “His preference is probably going three-quarters, where he’s 2-for-2, but those races are hard to come by, so we’ll see how everything shapes out.”
Among the main threats are a pair of recent maiden winners at the Big A.
Quixotic scored by 4 ¼ lengths in 1:19.09 for 6 ½ furlongs on Jan. 18 for trainer Jonathan Thomas as a 4-5 favorite in his second career start.
“We were pleased with his first two starts and Johnny seemed to be pretty pleased with him,” Thomas said. “Subsequently, he came back well. It’s a little quicker than typically we’ve run one back, especially heading into a stakes, but the timing is what it is. He seems to be doing well, so we’ll see how it shapes up.
“The speed figure coming back gave us some confidence, and the manner in which he won, with some force in hand (encouraged us).” Thomas added. “He seemed to gallop out nicely. You only learn about them by running them.”
Montauk Traffic rallied in the stretch to score by 4 ½ lengths in his second start, covering seven furlongs in 1:27.12 for trainer Linda Rice.
In his first start, which came on a sloppy track at Laurel Park, Montauk Traffic dwelt at the start and finished 48 ¼ lengths behind in last.
Old Chestnut, a stakes winner on turf at Woodbine, makes his first start on dirt for trainer Mark Casse.
“He’s trained well enough over the dirt and there aren’t a whole lot of options out there right now on the grass,” Casse said. “We wanted to go ahead and find out sooner rather than later about the dirt and see how he does. We need to find out where we are. If he’s just turf, it’s better to find out now.”
The field also includes Secret Rules, Johnny Ritt and Polar Bear Pete.