Rodriguez Has Jerome Pencilled In For Notebook Winner Eagle Orb's Next Start - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Rodriguez Has Jerome Pencilled In For Notebook Winner Eagle Orb’s Next Start

Eagle Orb and Manny Franco winning the Notebook at Aqueduct

E.V. Racing's Eagle Orb is training forwardly off a victory in the Notebook on November 14 and the Orb colt could make his next start in the $150,000 Jerome on New Year's Day at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, N.Y., trainer Rudy Rodriguez said Sunday morning.

The Jerome, for newly minted 3-year-olds going one-mile, is a prep for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 1, offering 10-4-2-1 qualifying points to the top-four finishers.

Eagle Orb tied a personal-best with a 74 Beyer Speed Figure for his 2 3/4-length victory in the Notebook against fellow New York-breds going six furlongs, marking his first stakes win.

Eagle Orb won his debut on August 21 at Saratoga Race Course and stepped up to stakes company to run second to next-out winner Thin White Duke in the Funny Cide on September 4 at the historic track.

Bred by Barry Ostrager, Eagle Orb is 2-2-0 in five career starts and has been breezing at Belmont since the Notebook as he prepares to stretch back out to one mile for the first time since running second to Brooklyn Strong, another next-out winner, in the Sleepy Hollow on October 24 for state-bred juveniles.

Rodriguez said he's confident to see Eagle Orb compete against open company after a successful 2-year-old campaign.

“We want to stretch him out to the Jerome coming up,” Rodriguez said. “He always tries. He shows he can run good, so we want to give him the opportunity to try that. So far, so good. He's doing everything we asked him. He looks pretty good and if he can run well there, we'll have more confidence in him.”

“Right now, his options are open, but we need to keep dreaming. That's what we are here for,” he added.

On Saturday, Yankee Division earned black type in his stakes debut, running third in the Alex M. Robb at the Big A. Competing at the longest distance of his career at 1 1/8 miles for just the second time in 14 starts, the 4-year-old son of Midnight Lute was last-of-six through the opening half-mile before rallying for third under jockey Jorge Vargas, Jr. finishing five lengths back to winner Bankit and runner-up and two-time defending Alex M. Robb-winner Mr. Buff.

Yankee Division, owned by Rodriguez with Michael Imperio and Andrew Gurdon, has registered three consecutive 86 Beyers, including for is win against allowance company on September 28 at Finger Lakes.

“He's looking good; it was a good performance,” Rodriguez said. “It came up a very tough race, but he was impressive. I think the distance was key for him. He's a big horse and he likes to run and run. The only time I tried to run him long before, it was at Finger Lakes and two turns. He was training good heading into the race, so I was happy.”

Rodriguez said he might try to maximize remaining conditions before returning to stakes company in 2021 for his 5-year-old year, but left open the possibility of higher competition for the gelding who was bred in New York by Carolyn Vogel.

Repole Stable's Backsideofthemoon was nominated to the $100,000 Queens County on Saturday, but Rodriguez instead entered him in an allowance optional claiming contest on Thursday in Aqueduct's Race 5.

The gelded son of Malibu Moon will complete his 8-year-old year in the one-mile contest looking to build on his win against optional claimers on November 13 at Aqueduct going 1 1/8 miles in a race that was moved off the turf.

Rodriguez said the veteran of 46 starts is planning to still run as a 9-year-old in 2021 and return to stakes company; a level at which he competed four times this year, including a second in the Jazil in January and third in the Stymie in March at Aqueduct.

“We're just trying to keep him happy and he's a good horse to be around,” Rodriguez said. “He always tries and he has a good body and good size. We nominated him to the [Queens County] because there aren't that many options this time of year, but we think he'll be in a good spot [Thursday] and then we'll see [what next year brings].”


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