Slider Heads East for Gotham

Slider | Benoit

Hall Racing, Pearl Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds' Slider (Jimmy Creed) will ship east in search of additional qualifying Kentucky Derby points in Saturday's GIII Gotham S. at Aqueduct. Winner of the Speakeasy S. over the turf at Santa Anita last October, Slider was ninth in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. He returned to the main track to be third in the Jan. 6 GII San Vicente S. last time out.

Trained by John Sadler, Slider turned in bullet five-furlong work in :59.00 (1/121) at Santa Anita Sunday.

“He worked very well,” Sadler said Sunday. “He ended up catching a couple horses that broke off in front of him, but for me, it was more about how he galloped out since this will be the furthest he's ever run. If he looks good tomorrow, he gets on a plane early Tuesday to be there Tuesday afternoon to run Saturday.”

Sadler said timing was the main reason Slider was making the 2,792-mile journey from Santa Anita to Ozone Park for the Gotham.

“The spacing is good from his last race and we like a one-turn mile with him, so there's a lot of things to like for him [in the Gotham],” said Sadler.

Jose Lezcano, who won last year's Gotham aboard Raise Cain (Violence), will pick up the mount Saturday.

Sadler nominated two other colts to the Gotham, but said the duo will have other Derby prep assignments.

West Point Thoroughbreds' Scatify (Justify) returned from a debut win at Los Alamitos in December to be third behind the runaway winner Nysos (Nyquist) in the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. at Santa Anita Feb. 3.

“He might be looking at the [Mar. 2 GII] San Felipe or the [Mar. 9 GIII] Tampa Bay Derby,” said Sadler. “We were anxious to get him started and he was a little later getting to me than some of the other ones. We were pleasantly happy with his first race, and missed a little time before the Bob Lewis. He wasn't going to beat the winner that day, but I think if things had gone a little differently, he could have been second.”

Hronis Racing's Tapalo (Tapiture), most recently second in the Feb. 10 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate, will likely remain on the synthetics and make his next start in the Mar. 23 GIII Jeff Ruby S. at Turfway Park.

“Tapalo will probably go to the Jeff Ruby,” said Sadler. “That was synthetic at Golden Gate and he ran a really nice race up there. I think he's a developing horse and it was a close race. He's progressing.”

Maximus Meridius Set to Make Stakes Debut in Gotham

Trainer Butch Reid is pointing Maximus Meridius (Maximus Mischief) to the Gotham. The bay colt worked four furlongs in :47.68 (2/33) at Parx Saturday.

“He breezed beautifully in :47 and change like breaking sticks. He's ready to go,” Reid said. “He did it on his own, he tends to get a little keyed up in company.”

Owned by LC Racing, Cash is King and Wellesley Stable, Maximus Meridius romped to a 10 1/2-length debut victory at Parx last November. He was third, beaten two lengths by Frankie's Empire (Classic Empire), who exited that race to win the Swale S. at Gulfstream Park, in a Dec. 26 optional claimer. Adding blinkers for his third start, Maximus Meridius returned to the winner's circle with a front-running victory going 6 1/2 furlongs at Parx Jan. 30.

Reid said the colt came to him via his brother, the retired Pennsylvania Hall of Fame trainer Mark Reid, who is known by the family as 'Uncle Heavy.'

“He's been very impressive from the beginning,” Reid said of Maximus Meridius. “He's a big, strong horse that we found out of a field in Chester County, Pennsylvania at my brother's place. He's been very forward the whole time we've had him.”

Reid said Uncle Heavy (Social Inclusion), a last-gasp winner of the GIII Withers S. Feb. 3, will aim for the Apr. 6 GII Wood Memorial S.

Due to an Equine Herpesvirus quarantine at Belmont Park, Uncle Heavy was shipped to a farm in Pennsylvania following his Withers victory, but was able to return to his Parx base Sunday with the quarantine now lifted.

“He was on the jogging machine and he didn't lose any fitness. He looks fantastic,” Reid said. “We'll have time for three or four good breezes. I'm not worried about fitness at all.”

Reid said he was impressed with Uncle Heavy's late-running win in the Withers.

“The key was the way he finished up. His last five strides were huge, big strides and he gobbled that horse up,” Reid said. “That was very impressive his first time going a mile and an eighth and we'll see if we can confirm that coming back in the Wood.”

Owned by Michael Milam, Uncle Heavy was bred by Reid's sister-in-law Barbara Reid and named for his brother.

“It's a great story and he's been a real find so far,” Reid said.

Uncle Heavy has banked $293,580 with a 4-3-0-0 record.

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