Maker: ‘Everything Is On The Table’ For Unbeaten Barese Following Gander Win

Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Barese relished a stretch out in distance to capture Saturday’s one-turn mile Gander, giving his connections reason to consider a start in the nine-furlong Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 9 at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, N.Y. The Wood Memorial awards 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers.

Trained by Mike Maker, the 3-year-old son of Laoban bobbled at the start of the Gander losing his left front shoe, but recovered quickly to stalk the pace in third under Dylan Davis, making up ground in the four-path as the field entered the turn.

Barese looked to be running for place honors as post-time favorite Bold Journey drew away to a four-length advantage at the top of the lane. As Bold Journey began to toil at the sixteenth-pole, Barese made a flying finish to his outside to take command and come home 1 1/4 lengths the best to remain undefeated in three starts.

“He didn’t get away well and had a bit of a bobble,” Maker said. “He had quite a bit to do and in the process, he pulled off a shoe and was still able to run like that. It was only his third start and his first time at a mile, so everything he’s done so far has impressed me. He came back in good order.”

The bay colt’s Gander win was his second consecutive stakes triumph after a 2 3/4-length victory in the 6 1/2-furlong Rego Park on Jan. 9 at the Big A, marking a strong return from an eight-month layoff since his debut maiden win in May at Belmont Park.

“We always had high hopes for him and he came back off an injury and didn’t seem like it affected him one bit,” Maker said. “We never missed a day with him [since his return to training] for any reason.”

Paradise Farms Corp.’s Peter Proscia said Barese has proven to be well worth his $150,000 purchase price at the Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-Year-Old Sale in 2021.

“Laoban had unfortunately passed away and so we were looking at his last crops,” Proscia said. “We were actually eyeballing [Barese] for the grass; Mike had picked him out. They wanted me to stop bidding at $110,000, but I kept going. I’m glad I did.”

Maker, who would prefer to keep Barese at route distances in the future, said the Wood Memorial is one of several options for the colt’s next start.

“Everything is on the table right now and I’ll get together with Peter and see what his thoughts are,” said Maker.

Maker also enjoyed another win on Friday at Aqueduct with 3-year-old colt Rotknee, who skipped away to a state-bred optional claiming victory in Race 7 for owner William Butler.

Like Barese, Rotknee was given time off after his maiden win at Saratoga Race Course last summer, sitting out for seven months while recovering from a minor injury. The New York-bred son of Runhappy returned in impressive fashion, setting the pace for the six furlongs under Manny Franco and never looking back to drive away to a definitive three-length victory.

Maker said that although the dark bay had entered the race off two bullet works over Belmont’s dirt training track, the colt was still not fully back to where he was before his layoff.

“We had to stop on him after his win at Saratoga,” said Maker. “I was impressed with him yesterday. He wasn’t fully cranked up and he’s another one who always showed a lot of talent from the get-go. I think he won that one more on talent than training.”

Maker said multiple graded stakes winning New York-bred Cross Border had a good first work back after finishing fifth in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park on January 29 and will likely target the Kentucky Cup Classic on April 2 at Turfway Park next.

The 8-year-old son of English Channel breezed a half-mile in 53.42 seconds over the Gulfstream Park dirt Saturday. Bred in the Empire State by Berkshire Stud and B. D. Gibbs, Cross Border boasts a record of 40-11-8-5 for earnings of $1,114,479.

The post Maker: ‘Everything Is On The Table’ For Unbeaten Barese Following Gander Win appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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