Capote, last year's champion 2-year-old colt, will probably make his first start this year in the $250,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct April 4, trainer Wayne Lukas said this week at Santa Anita.
Lukas has been debating whether to keep Capote in California, send him to Arkansas or use the New York route to the Kentucky Derby May 2.
"There are a couple of advantages to starting in New York with this colt," Lukas said. "First, it's a one-turn mile, which is a good way to get started.
Second, even if it rains, Aqueduct's track handles water well and is still all right to run on. When you get a lot of rain at Santa Anita or Oaklawn Park, the tracks can be bad enough to make you keep your horse in the barn."
The Gotham, which is followed by Aqueduct's only major prep for the Kentucky Derby, the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial April 18, is the same day as the Santa Anita Derby. Masterful Advocate, the favorite for the Santa Anita Derby, has been ridden by Laffit Pincay, who was Capote's regular rider last year. Lukas said he would know sometime this weekend who will ride Capote.
Capote worked five furlongs at Hollywood Park Wednesday in 1:00 2/5, his best workout since he returned to training after a virus problem in December.
A field of seven, headed by Very Subtle, has been entered to run in Sunday's $150,000 Santa Anita Oaks.
In post-position order, this is the lineup: Buryyourbelief, Alex Solis riding; Pink Slipper, Bill Shoemaker; Very Subtle, Pat Valenzuela; Akron, Laffit Pincay; Timely Assertion, Gary Stevens; You Make Me Happy, Corey Black; and Senora, Chris McCarron. All will carry 117 pounds.