Dr Ardito Seeks Fourth Stakes Win at Aqueduct on Saturday

Michael Caruso and Michael Dubb’s Grade 2-placed multiple stakes-winner Dr Ardito will once again team up with jockey Manny Franco in search of their fourth collaborative stakes victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Haynesfield, a one-turn mile for older New York-breds, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by four-time Eclipse Award-winner Chad Brown, Dr Ardito returns to the scene of his determined half-length score in the one-mile Alex M. Robb with Franco at the helm on December 29 over muddy and sealed footing. The now 6-year-old Liam’s Map gray displayed his usual come-from-behind tactics to rally from last-of-5 and collar stablemate Aggregation just in time, stopping the clock in a final time of 1:36.18.

“He’s a nice horse,” Franco said. “He’s sharp and he knows where the wire is. He always gives me everything out there, that’s a nice type of horse to be around. Every time I ride him, I try to do my best and make it happen. The horse is always there for me. I hope Saturday will be the same.”

Franco has piloted Dr Ardito in all but one of his 14 lifetime outings, which includes a six-race win streak from April 2021 through last February that began with a second-out graduation and concluded with a gritty head score over the multiple graded stakes-placed Bankit in last year’s Haynesfield.

In addition to the Haynesfield and Alex M. Robb, Dr Ardito’s 5-year-old campaign included another stakes triumph in the Evan Shipman Handicap at Saratoga Race Course and his first graded placing when narrowly defeated by Everso Mischievous in the Grade 2 Forty Niner in October here.

Bred by Fred W. Hertrich, III and John D. Fielding, Dr Ardito has posted a record of 14-8-2-0 with total purse earnings just shy of $500,000. He was purchased by Dubb for $95,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Preferred New York-bred Yearling Sale and is out of the twice-winning Indian Charlie mare Delightfully So, a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Delightful Kiss.

Aqueduct starting gateDr Ardito, assigned a field-high 124 pounds, will emerge from post 3.

Paradise Farms Corp., David Staudacher, Maxis Stable and John Huber’s Maker’s Candy [post 7, Jose Lezcano, 122 pounds] streaks in off three straight wins at the Haynesfield distance at the Big A dating to a 6 3/4-length romp in a November state-bred optional claimer for trainer Mike Maker. The talented colt has crossed the wire first in all five starts going a one-turn mile here, however he was disqualified and placed second for interference in last year’s Gander.

The 4-year-old Twirling Candy bay’s two latest victories have come against open company when setting the pace and bravely holding on to win with Franco at the helm. On December 17, he earned a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure for a first-level allowance score by a neck over stakes-winner Drake’s Passage ahead of his last-out head triumph over stakes-placed Bold Endeavor on January 27.

“He’s doing great and he’s got a win streak going on that’s pretty impressive,” said Peter Proscia of Paradise Farms Corp. “He’s a gutsy horse and he doesn’t give up. He seems to like that distance at that track, so we’re looking forward to the race. He’s a game horse and doesn’t like horses passing him.”

Maker’s Candy returns to stakes company for the first time since a distant fourth-place effort in the state-bred Albany in August at Saratoga. He looks to notch his second stakes conquest capturing the seven-furlong Mike Lee in May at Belmont Park.

A $200,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, Maker’s Candy was bred by Newtownanner Stud. He is out of the twice-winning Bluegrass Cat mare Purple Cat, a half-sister to Grade 1-winner Sky Diva, multiple graded stakes-placed Quick Little Miss, and Re Entry, the dam of graded stakes-winner Shotgun Hottie.

“I think he was a good-looking horse and Mike liked the way he looked and the way he was traveling,” Proscia said of his impressions of Maker’s Candy at the sale. “We’ve been very successful with Mike and I’m hoping we keep the ball rolling. I named the horse after him and it’s been fun. The staff that works with Mike do an awesome job and we’re very grateful to have them.”

Gallagher’s Stud’s stakes-placed homebred Olympic Dreams [post 1, Trevor McCarthy, 120 pounds] is cross-entered in a one-mile optional claimer on Friday at the Big A for trainer Pat Quick. Regardless of which race the 5-year-old Medaglia d’Oro gelding contests, he will see a cutback to one turn for the first time since finishing third in a May optional claiming tilt against state-breds at Belmont.

Quick said a return to one mile is a question for the consistent gray.

“I am not certain where we’ll run – I’m on the fence,” said Quick. “I think a mile and an eighth is better, but in the wintertime, I would just as soon run him than train him.”

Olympic Dreams earned back-to-back wins at the Big A when capturing a 1 3/16-mile open-company allowance by a neck in November and following with a 2 3/4-length score in a second-level nine-furlong optional claimer on January 7. He was last seen finishing third behind graded stakes-winner Law Professor in a January 26 optional claiming tilt that saw him bumped at the start and angled five-wide to come up 3 1/2 lengths shy of victory.

“He ran a great race against two horses who ran better,” said Quick. “We really didn’t have any issue with it and he ran his usual race and just got beat. He’s been a great horse and he’s doing terrific. We couldn’t ask for any more.”

Olympic Dreams boasts a lifetime record of 13-5-1-3 with total purse earnings of $313,755. His best stakes finish was a narrow defeat to Bankit in the Commentator in May when traveling a one-turn 1 1/16 miles at Belmont.

Ten Strike Racing’s Whittington Park [post 2, Kendrick Carmouche, 118 pounds] looks to earn his first stakes triumph on the heels of a decisive 2 1/4-length victory on January 13 in a one-mile open-company allowance, which was his first start off a five-month layoff.

Trained by Jeremiah Englehart, the 5-year-old Midnight Lute bay rallied from 7 1/2 lengths off the pace under regular pilot Kendrick Carmouche to be within 2 1/2 lengths of the lead at the top of the lane. He continued to find more with each stride down the stretch to take charge in the final sixteenth and kick clear to victory in a final time of 1:37.52 over muddy and sealed footing.

Bred by Marshall Gramm and Clay Sanders, Whittington Park is out of the six-time winning Forestry mare See the Forest and is a half-brother to stakes-winner Looms Boldly. His second dam is the multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Critical Eye.

Completing the field are the stakes-placed Overstep [post 4, Eric Cancel, 118 pounds] for Hall of Fame conditioner Todd Pletcher; four-time winner Mama’s Gold [post 6, Romero Ramsay Maragh, 118 pounds] for trainer Chad Summers; and five-time winner Anejo [post 5, Dylan Davis, 120 pounds], who is also cross-entered in the same Friday optional claimer as Olympic Dreams for trainer Doug O’Neill.

The Haynesfield is slated as Race 8 on Saturday’s nine-race card. First post is 1:20 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.

Source: NYRA.com

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Rich Nilsen is an 18-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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