Green Light Go Brings Recent Form Into Saturday’s Stymie

Stronach Stables homebred Green Light Go brings rejuvenated form to Saturday’s $125,000 Stymie, a one-turn mile for older horses at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the 5-year-old Hard Spun bay enters from a romping nine-length score in a one-mile optional-claimer on Jan. 13 at the Big A that garnered a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure. That effort followed a closing second in the six-furlong Grade 3 Fall Highweight on Nov. 28 at Aqueduct.

Jerkens said he is cautiously optimistic that Green Light Go will replicate the figure.

“Those things have to be taken with a grain of salt. The track was much, much faster that day,” Jerkens said. “When he ran second in the Fall Highweight, the track was slow. He came running but fell a little short. You just have to get them over there the best you can.”

The precocious Green Light Go, a Kentucky homebred, graduated on debut in July 2019 at Saratoga Race Course and followed one month later with a 3 3/4-length score in the G2 Saratoga Special. He completed his 2-year-old season with a distant second to Tiz the Law in the G1 Champagne in October 2019 at Belmont Park.

Green Light Go raced twice as a sophomore, finishing third in the Grade 3 Swale and second in the Roar, both at Gulfstream Park.

“I had him as a 3-year-old early on and he just didn’t make as good a transition,” Jerkens said. “You see that sometimes, especially horses that come around really fast at two like he did. The development gets stunted – almost as if they’ve gone too far already. He didn’t hold his flesh as well down in Florida in his 3-year-old year. He finally got good and strong toward the end of the meet and ran second in the Roar, where I didn’t think he could get beat.”

Last year, Green Light Go won once in six starts – an optional-claiming event in April at Oaklawn Park – while in the care of Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Green Light Go rejoined Jerkens late last summer at Saratoga and has flourished in two starts since.

“We got him back at the end of Saratoga last year and we didn’t train him hard right away. We just kept him well fed and happy and he responded,” Jerkens said.

Green Light Go enters with a trio of bullet breezes over the Belmont dirt training track, including a five-furlong effort in 1:01.98 on Saturday.

Jerkens said a good result Saturday could see Green Light Go target the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap, a seven-furlong sprint for older horses on April 9 at the Big A.

“It seems like he has the speed where if we do decide to cut back to the Carter, there’s ways to sharpen his speed up a bit,” Jerkens said. “Seven-eighths or a mile around one turn are his best races.”

Dylan Davis will guide Green Light Go from the inside post.

Wertheimer and Frere homebred Waxman will look to maintain a perfect in-the-money record while making his stakes debut.

Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, the 4-year-old Empire Maker colt, who boasts a ledger of 5-2-3-0, enters on a two-race winning streak at the Big A. Waxman graduated at fourth asking traveling a one-turn mile on Dec. 2 ahead of a last-out 1 3/4-length allowance score at nine furlongs that garnered a career-best 95 Beyer.

Byron Hughes, Pletcher’s Belmont-based assistant, said the dark bay colt has the tactical speed to be effective.

“I think he’ll handle the cutback fine. He’s a very handy horse and well minded,” Hughes said. “He’ll do whatever you ask him to do, so it shouldn’t be an issue.”

Hughes said Waxman has improved with racing experience after starting his career with a trio of runner-up finishes.

“He’s gotten more mature and more professional and appears to have figured things out in his past couple starts. We’re happy with how he’s doing right now,” Hughes said.

Jose Lezcano will pilot Waxman from post 2.

Robert Brittingham, James Wasserson and Louis A. Bisso, Jr.’s Milton the Monster will make his stakes debut for trainer John Servis.

The 5-year-old Jack Milton chestnut drew off to an open-lengths romp over a sloppy and sealed main track last out under Frankie Pennington on Jan. 17 at Parx. The 12 3/4-length score in a seven-furlong optional-claiming sprint registered a career-best 100 Beyer.

The Kentucky-bred Milton the Monster made his first start for the Servis stable in September and has posted a record of 2-2-1 in five starts since, including a 6 3/4-length score in a 6 1/2-furlong optional claimer in October over a sloppy and sealed Parx main track.

“I’ve liked him since Day One. He really seems to be maturing and putting it all together,” Servis said. “His two mud races are big races and I think eventually he’s going to want the turf with his pedigree. It might be why he looks like he’s so much better on the slop.”

Milton the Monster was hampered by awkward starts in two of his non-winning efforts at Parx, including on Dec. 27 when racing from well back around two turns before closing to finish second in a one mile and 70 yard optional-claimer.

Servis said Milton the Monster should appreciate Aqueduct’s one-turn mile configuration.

“The way he ran going two turns I know the distance won’t be a problem, and I think the one-turn mile might be ideal for him,” Servis said.

Pennington retains the mount from post 5.

Gulliver Racing, Craig W. Drager and Dan Legan’s 6-year-old graded stakes winner Pirate’s Punch will make his first start for trainer William Morey since his 2-year-old campaign.

The Shanghai Bobby gelding made a trio of sophomore starts for Jeff Mullins before moving to the barn of Grant Forster after a sixth-out maiden score in July 2019 at Ellis Park.

Pirate’s Punch posted a strong 2020 campaign, crossing the wire first in the G3 Philip Iselin at Monmouth only to be disqualified and placed second. The dark bay enjoyed immediate redemption, taking down the G3 Salvator Mile one month later at the same track.

Winless in five starts last year, the owners opted to send Pirate’s Punch to New York to re-ignite the $90,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase’s career under Morey’s tutelage.

“We want to give him a chance and see if we can get him back on the beam,” Morey said. “My wife [Elizabeth Morey] and I bought him as a yearling for those clients. I recommended Grant to train them in Kentucky and they had a really good run with him. The owners wanted to try something different, and they called me about trying him in New York.”

Out of the Malibu Moon mare Catch the Moon, Pirate’s Punch is a half-sibling to Grade 1-winner Girvin and Grade 3-winner Midnight Bourbon.

Pirate’s Punch will emerge from post 6 under Jorge A. Vargas, Jr.

Rounding out the field are Doubly Blessed [post 4, Manny Franco], who makes his first appearance since finishing third in the Grade 2 Kelso in September at Belmont; New York-bred stakes winner Our Last Buck [post 7, Kendrick Carmouche] and stakes-placed Hanalei’s Houdini [post 3, Trevor McCarthy].

The Stymie is slated as Race 8 on Saturday’s nine-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the winter meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.

The post Green Light Go Brings Recent Form Into Saturday’s Stymie appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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