Thursday, January 9, 2003
With Ability nears end of good career
By David Grening
Daily Racing Form
OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- With Ability was part of a highly successful 2000 juvenile filly class for owner-breeder Edward Evans and trainer Mark Hennig. Though she may not have accomplished as much as classmates Gold Mover and Raging Fever, With Ability will retire next month with a distinguished career.
With Ability has won 7 of 18 starts, including the Sixty Sails Handicap and the Next Move Handicap - both Grade 3 races - and earned $558,124. She will try to add to that total in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Affectionately Handicap over the inner track. If all goes well there, With Ability would make her final start in the Grade 3 Rare Treat Handicap on Feb. 17 before being bred.
"She's been a wonderful servant,'' said Seth Gregory, assistant to trainer Mark Hennig. "She's done everything we've asked of her.''
With Ability, a daughter of A.P. Indy, is coming off a third-place finish to Critical Eye in the Grade 3 Ladies Handicap at 1 1/4 miles. Before that, she won a classified allowance race by 7 1/2 lengths over the inner track.
"It was a little bit too far,'' Gregory said of the Ladies. "She ran the way she likes to run in the Ladies, but she didn't have enough left. I think the 1 1/16 miles and the 1 1/8 miles are her best distances.''
With Ability was in career form last winter and spring when she won three of four starts, including the Sixty Sails and Next Move. Her only loss from February to June came to Zonk in a classified allowance race. Zonk figures to be the one to beat on Saturday.
With Ability's biggest concern may be Pocus Hocus, who showed excellent speed winning a second-level allowance race on Dec. 8.
"That would be our fear, but if you look back to last year's Next Move, it was a fear then and it never materialized,'' said Gregory, who noted that Pocus Hocus was in that race and didn't press With Ability.
In addition to Zonk and Pocus Hocus, the lineup for the Affectionately is expected to include Wishful Splendor, Kiss a Miss, Shop Till You Drop, and Persky.
Aqueduct Handicap field taking shape
Snake Mountain and the Hennig-trained Cat's at Home, the first and third finishers from the Queens County Handicap on Dec. 7, are expected to renew acquaintances in the $100,000 Aqueduct Handicap on Jan. 18.
Only 14 horses were nominated to the Grade 3 Aqueduct. Among those expected to compete are Ground Storm, last year's Aqueduct runner-up, and Voodoo, a romping 11 1/4-length victory in a Nov. 29 allowance race. Other possibilities include Resolve, My Man Ryan, Country Be Gold, and Tempest Fugit.
Cat's at Home finished four lengths behind Snake Mountain in the Queens County, but came out of the race with a quarter crack to a hind foot. Gregory said that the Aqueduct will most likely be Cat's at Home's last start before he receives a vacation. "We're considering sending him for a freshening before Monmouth,'' Gregory said. "He had a great year there last year.''
Wednesday, Snake Mountain worked six furlongs in 1:18.87. Mike Luzzi will pick up the mount on Snake Mountain because Jose Santos, who rode Snake Mountain in the Queens County, will be in Florida to ride Funny Cide in the Holy Bull Stakes that day.
* Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Iron Deputy, winner of last year's Count Fleet Stakes, has returned to training and could race before the end of the meet. Iron Deputy was involved in a spill in the Jim Dandy in August and hasn't raced since then. He has been battling foot problems that forced him to scratch from the Pennsylvania Derby in September.