Donk Prepares A Trio Of Hopefuls For Upcoming Aqueduct Stakes

Trainer David Donk, who will oversee a stable of 30 horses this winter in New York, will be represented by a trio of Empire State-bred competitors in upcoming Big A stakes races in Shesawildjoker, Geno, and Big Package.

Joseph Bucci’s Shesawildjoker, a 2-year-old daughter of Practical Joke, is targeting next Sunday’s six-furlong $100,000 Key Cents for fellow state-bred fillies at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, N.Y.

The $80,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase graduated on debut in June at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., besting eventual stakes winner November Rein by a head in a 5 1/2-furlong dash over Big Sandy.

Following an off-the-board effort in the Grade 2 Adirondack in August at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Shesawildjoker returned to state-bred company and completed the trifecta in the seven-furlong Joseph A. Gimma. She enters the Key Cents from a win in the six-furlong Shesastonecoldfox, contested over a sloppy strip on October 25 at Finger Lakes Race Track in Farmington, N.Y.

“She came in from the training center with the reputation that they thought she’d be OK. She trained well early on and ran a pretty good race first time out and was good enough to win,” Donk said. “She was scheduled to run in a New York-bred stake early in the meet at Saratoga but it didn’t go, so we ran her open company and it was too tough for her.”

Out of the Speightstown mare Tarquinia, Shesawildjoker was bred by Three Diamonds Farm.

Mendham Racing Stable’s Geno, a 2-year-old son of Big Brown bred by Pete Martine, is pointed to the open-company $100,000 Central Park, a 1 1/16-mile turf test on November 27.

A debut winner against state-breds in September sprinting six-furlongs over firm Belmont turf, Geno followed with a narrow nose loss to General Ken in the 1 1/16-mile Awad on November 5 at the same track.

“He ran a really nice race last time. It was a big step forward off of his first effort,” Donk said. “His first race was three-quarters versus New York-breds and he took a good jump into open company. I thought he would appreciate more distance and he ran a really nice race.

“He came out of that race very well,” Donk added. “There’s a lot of upside to him and I think he’ll go forward even more. He’s a very kind horse and a very classy horse.”

Donk said Geno, out of the Sun King mare Weekend Hottie, should appreciate traveling two-turns for the first time.

“I don’t think distance will be an issue. He’s a big, scopey horse,” Donk said. “There’s a route pedigree on the dam’s side. I think he’ll appreciate stretching out. Even though he won going three-quarters I think he was just good enough to do that. I don’t think he’s really a sprinter.”

Big Package, owned by Donk in partnership with Sean Carney, is targeting the six-furlong $150,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship on November 27.

The Big Brown gelding, bred by Newtown Anner Stud, has enjoyed a productive 4-year-old season with a record of 7-3-1-2. The late-running bay notched an open allowance win sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs in August at the Spa and last out rallied to a 1 3/4-length score in an optional-claiming event on November 7 at Belmont, garnering a career-best 95 Beyer.

“It was a really good race,” Donk said. “It was a good field the other day. I was hoping he would run well and he ran a big race.”

Donk said Big Package, who will return off 19 days’ rest, will take a breather following the Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship.

“I’m not afraid to run them and run them when they’re good,” Donk said. “Three weeks is plenty of time. It’s a big step up in company but with good horses, ideally you get pace, too. It would be his last race of the season regardless.”

The post Donk Prepares A Trio Of Hopefuls For Upcoming Aqueduct Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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