Riderless 'Second' In Gotham, Howgreatisnate Gets Class, Distance Test In Laurel's Private Terms - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Riderless ‘Second’ In Gotham, Howgreatisnate Gets Class, Distance Test In Laurel’s Private Terms

Howgreatisnate, ridden by J. D. Acosta, wins the 2022 Future Stars at Parx Racing

Racing fans that watched the Gotham (G3) earlier this month at Aqueduct came away impressed with the way Imaginary Stables' Howgreatisnate ran, crossing the wire second after having won each of his first four races, two of them in stakes.

Thing is, it didn't count. Howgreatisnate stumbled badly leaving the gate, losing rider J.D. Acosta, but continued to race. He swept past the field on the outside to take the lead on the far turn, dropped down inside and held it until passed by eventual long shot winner Raise Cain in mid-stretch.

Appearing to ease up after having no competition on the front end, he came on again with the challenge of Raise Cain and wound up a length short but several lengths ahead of the next finisher, Slip Mahoney.

“He galloped around in front of the horses. I don't take a lot out of that,” trainer Andrew Simoff said. “Some people were going crazy on the Internet about how great he ran. Me personally, I can't really take anything away from it.”

Howgreatisnate will make his comeback in Saturday's $100,000 Private Terms, Maryland's next stop for 3-year-olds on the road to the 148th Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, May 20 at historic Pimlico Race Course.

Parx-based Simoff opted to come back in the Private Terms at about 1 1/16 miles, his longest race to date, rather than wait for something like the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial (G2) April 8 at Aqueduct.

“We're kind of stuck. [Do we] go back to the Wood, which is going to be a tougher spot,” he said. “We haven't really been tested. The last race didn't seem to take a lot out of him with no rider and all. He came back good, ate up and has been acting and training good. At least this way, we'll try to get a little better idea of what we have on Saturday.”

Howgreatisnate was purchased for $67,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2021 and debuted with a come-from-behind maiden claiming triumph last August at Delaware Park. He won the First State Dash second time out and an optional claiming allowance, both at Delaware, before returning to Parx to capture the Dec. 5 Future Stars in his juvenile finale.

“The owner sent me to Keeneland to buy some babies the year before and we bought four. Fortunately, he was one of them,” Simoff said. “Nice horse, nice balance to him. He's not real big, not real small. We brought him back and got him Delaware certified and then my brother, Richard, broke him out on his farm in Oxford, Pa.

“We brought him into Delaware last spring and he was always a pleasure to work with,” he added. “We kind of got screwed up when we went to the Gotham. We wanted to get a line on him against better horses and hopefully get some points if he was that good. Unfortunately, he was fresh, he had three months off and he just outbroke himself. He stumbled really bad, it wasn't anybody's fault. It was just one of those things. You couldn't prevent it. There's no way the rider could have stayed on, so you can't really blame anybody. It was just a bad circumstance.”

Acosta will be back aboard Howgreatisnate in the Private Terms, breaking from Post 4 of eight as the fourth program choice at 4-1 behind New York shipper Register (3-1), Hayes Strike (7-2) and Coffeewithchris (7-2). Both Hayes Strike and 6-1 fifth choice Circling the Drain are Triple Crown-nominated.

“If he runs good then it kind of open him back up for bigger things,” Simoff said. “Even if he ran fifth or sixth in the Gotham, I'm all right with that … but not getting any kind of line was just tough. You still don't know where you're at with him. But, that's the beauty of this business. The heartaches make it that much sweeter when you win.”

Howgreatisnate is named for owner John Guarnere's young grandson, who has been on hand for some of his races.

“He's a younger kid, maybe 8 or 10. He gets a kick out of it,” Simoff said. “In the Gotham we were getting ready and he was standing there and I said, 'Nate, come on out and give him a pet for luck.' We're getting ready to throw the rider up and he's petting the horse. The paddock judge wasn't too happy. He came when he won the stake at Delaware and he came up to New York. He's getting a kick out of it. For a young kid it's been fun.”

The Private Terms (Race 9) is the last of five stakes worth $450,000 in purses on a 10-race program, following the $75,000 Conniver (Race 5), $75,000 Not For Love (Race 6), $100,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial (Race 7) and $100,000 Beyond The Wire (Race 10), the latter for 3-year-old fillies on the road to the 99th Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 19 at Pimlico.

A seven-furlong sprint for older Maryland-bred/sired females, the Conniver kicks off the 20-cent Rainbow 6. The sequence includes the Harrison Johnson, Beyond The Wire and Private Terms before wrapping up in Race 10.

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