Lifetime of Chance set for stakes debut in NYSSS Times Square
by Keith McCalmont
Stable’s Lifetime of Chance, a 16-length maiden winner last out, will make his stakes debut in Saturday’s $200,000 Times Square division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series at 6 1/2-furlongs for eligible New York-sired sophomores, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The New York-bred The Lieutenant colt, conditioned through his first six starts by Linda Rice, opened up a 10-length lead at the stretch call in a seven-furlong state-bred maiden special weight on March 18 here and drew off impressively to stop the clock in 1:24.90. The eye-catching score garnered a field-best 91 Beyer Speed Figure.
Lifetime of Chance was one of a number of D.J. Stable trainees transferred to trainer Mark Casse once the Hall of Fame conditioner opened up his New York-based stable at Belmont Park.
Prior to breaking his maiden, Lifetime of Chance finished in the money four times, including a third in the NYSSS Great White Way to returning rival General Banker in December. He was an uncharacteristic distant fourth on February 9 going six furlongs in a state-bred maiden special weight.
“His last race was very impressive and overpowering,” Casse said. “I understand he had excuses in his prior races, so if he can repeat or get close to that performance, he's going to be awful tough. Linda did a great job with him and I hope to be able to do the same.”
Casse, who recently earned his 15th Sovereign Award as Canada’s Outstanding Trainer, was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2016. He has teamed up with D.J. Stable for numerous stakes successes, including with Wonder Wheel, the reigning Champion 2-Year-Old Filly, who needs one defection to draw into the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 5 at Churchill Downs.
Wonder Wheel, who is slated to breeze Thursday at Churchill, is currently 15th on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 48 qualifying points. After finishing sixth last out in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland, Wonder Wheel is among a number of star fillies, including graded-stakes winner Julia Shining, yet to confirm one of 14 spots in the Oaks starting gate.
“It's hard to believe she's outside looking in right now. She's the Breeders' Cup winner and a multiple Grade 1-winner, but right now we need a defection,” Casse said. “I don't know why our filly didn't run better last time, but she's run seven times and had six great efforts. She's due one. She's ready. She's probably going to breeze tomorrow.”
Lifetime of Chance, a half-brother to graded-stakes winner Lucky Player, is out of the Storm Cat mare Janetstickettocats, who is a half-sister to dual graded-stakes winner Runway Model. The $135,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale purchase was bred in New York by Destiny Oaks of Ocala.
Dylan Davis picks up the mount from the injured Jose Lezcano from post 3.
Seacoast Thoroughbreds of N.E.’s New York-homebred General Banker [post 4, Eric Cancel] will cut back in distance following a troubled 10th in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 8 at the Big A.
A model of consistency, the James Ferraro trainee finished third in three prior Kentucky Derby preps at Aqueduct – the Jerome, the Grade 3 Withers, and the Grade 3 Gotham.
The Central Banker colt graduated in style in the seven-furlong NYSSS Great White Way on December 17 in his eighth lifetime outing, besting a field of 11 by 8 1/2-lengths over a muddy and sealed Aqueduct main track.
The dark bay also showed talent over muddy and sealed going when rallying from 12th-of-14 in the Grade 3 Gotham on March 4 to land show honors in the one-turn mile by a nose over Eyeing Clover, who exited that race to win the Hot Springs at Oaklawn Park.
Ferraro said a return to the New York-sired classification and the prospect of a wet track prompted him to supplement the late-running colt.
“He might need easier company and they're calling for rain, too,” Ferraro said. “You usually get a faster pace sprinting. Eric Cancel rode him going a mile and an eighth [in the Withers] and thought it might have been too long for him.”
Ferraro noted the difficult trip last out did not benefit General Banker’s chances as a 46-1 longshot, but said his charge has exited the race in good order.
“That [trouble] didn't help but he still would have had to jump up his game in that race,” Ferraro said. “He's a pretty sturdy horse. He likes the cool, spring air. He's a good doer. He eats up everything and came out good.”
Mr. Amore Stable’s New York homebred East Coast Girl [post 1, Jose Ortiz] graduated by 11 1/4-lengths at third asking in a six-furlong state-bred maiden claiming sprint on January 27 at the Big A.
Trained by Kelly Breen, who recently secured his 1,000th career win, the Laoban bay exited that effort to finish a pacesetting second in an open-company six-furlong optional-claiming sprint won by Toxic Gray.
East Coast Girl, out of the stakes-placed City Place mare Myakka City, breezed three-eighths in 38.25 on April 7 over the Belmont dirt training track in his most recent preparation for his stakes debut.
Cedar Meadow’s Dr. Kraft [post 6, Jacqueline Davis] has hit the board in 5-of-6 starts – all at the Big A - including a narrow graduation at fourth asking in January in a state-bred maiden special weight traveling 6 1/2-furlogs over a muddy and sealed main track.
Trained by Chris Englehart, the bay son of The Lieutenant exited his maiden score to finish a game third in the one-mile Gander for New York-bred sophomores on February 25 after stumbling at the start.
Last out, Dr. Kraft, bred in the Empire State by Sequel Stallions New York, finished third in a one-mile state-bred optional-claimer on March 31.
The $50,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale purchase, out of the Dixieland Band mare Princess Consort, is a half-brother to graded-stakes winner Waterway Run.
Rounding out the field are three-time winner Kerness [post 2, Ruben Silvera] for conditioner Jamie Ness; maiden winners Ten Cent Town [post 7, Manny Franco] for trainer William Morey and the Lisa Lewis-trained Bank Frenzy [post 5, Samy Camacho]; as well as Coach Pitino [post 8, Kendrick Carmouche], who will make his career debut off a series of works at Gulfstream Park for trainer Jorge Delgado.
The NYSSS Times Square is slated as Race 8 on Saturday’s nine-race card, which also offers the $100,000 Woodhaven in Race 3. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.
America's Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of the Aqueduct spring meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
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