El Kabeir Headlines Jerome

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Zayat Stable's “TDN Rising Star” El Kabeir (Scat Daddy) will look for his second consecutive graded score in the 145th edition of Aqueduct's GIII Jerome S. Saturday. The Florida-bred sophomore broke his maiden at Saratoga Aug. 30 and finished fourth in the GI Champagne S. Oct. 4. He garnered his first black-type when second in the GII Nashua S. Nov. 2 and annexed the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. at Churchill Downs with jockey Calvin Borel in the irons for the first time Nov. 29. 

“We're very happy with the way he and Calvin connected in Kentucky,” said trainer John Terranova. “The horse came out of the race great, and he's heading into the Jerome ideally [having worked a half mile in :48.55 Sunday]. He's gotten much stronger moving from the Champagne to the Nashua to now, and he's a lot more focused as well. We've gotten over the two-turn question; now, we have to see how he progresses, how he stretches out his speed, and his ability to rate.” 

The 2-1 morning-line favorite will have to face Sleepy Hollow S. winner Ostrolenka (Musket Man). The Fein and McKenna colorbearer bounced as the 4-1 second choice when finishing last of 13 in the GII Remsen S., but trainer Todd Pletcher thinks the colt can comeback from that disappointing effort. 

“The first thing we're looking for is for him to rebound from the disappointing performance in the Remsen,” the trainer explained. “My feeling is that he was compromised by a bad post [No. 11] and the fact there was a lot of residual moisture in the track, even though it was labeled fast. [Pilot] Johnny [Velazquez] felt he didn't like the track surface at all, just as he didn't like the sloppy track in his first start, so we're hoping for a fast track and a better performance. He's a colt with some potential, and as he continues to develop and improve, should he run well, we'll come up with a game plan for him.”

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