Neolithic coasts to a nine-length victory in an allowance race at Gulfstream last December
Saturday’s stakes-laden Whitney Day card will close out with a competitive $ 90,000 allowance optional claiming race, marking the return of Qatar Racing and Starlight Racing’s Neolithic, who is looking to use the race as a stepping stone to the Grade 1, $ 750,000 Woodward on September 2.
The start will be the first for the 4-year-old Harlan’s Holiday colt since finishing third behind Arrogate and Gun Runner in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup in March.
“We got to get him a good freshening at WinStar following the Dubai World Cup and we felt like this would be a good place to get him back and started,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “Hopefully, we can build on that for the Woodward.”
Prior to the Dubai World Cup, Neolithic used a front-running allowance score in December as a prep for the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational, where he faced Arrogate for the first time, finishing third to the reigning Eclipse Award winner in his seasonal bow.
Neolithic has been installed as the even-money favorite in the 10-horse race that also attracted 2016 Grade 2 Remsen winner Mo Town, making his first start since the Grade 2 Wood Memorial this spring, as well as graded stakes-placed runners Realm, Warrior’s Club, and Schivarelli.
“We aren’t doing it because we are looking for an easy spot,” Pletcher said. “We are doing it because he has run decently at seven furlongs before and we felt like we needed a race to get to the Woodward and we didn’t feel like we quite had him ready for a mile and an eighth in the Whitney or the Alydar.”
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