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Raise Cain Lights Up Toteboard in Gotham

When trainer Ben Colebrook said he would be at Aqueduct Racetrack to saddle Raise Cain in the $300,000 Gotham Stakes (G3), he wasn’t kidding.

Colebrook did indeed saddle the son of Violence in the March 4 one-turn mile stakes for 3-year-olds, but that was it. Immediately afterward, as the horses headed to the racetrack, he sprinted out of the Big A. He hopped into a waiting cab for a quick drive to nearby Kennedy Airport for a flight to the Kentucky to saddle Scoobie Quando Saturday night in the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park.

Raise Cain, b, 3/c
Violence — Lemon Belle, by Lemon Drop Kid

Owner: Warren, Andrew N. and Warren, Rania
Breeder: Rock Ridge Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY)
Trainer: Ben Colebrook
Jockey: Jose Lezcano
Information provided by Equibase at time of entry.

Pedigree Notes
Violence stands at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms for $50,000 (2023).

Sale History
OBSJUN2022 • ($65,000 RNA) • Consignor: Eisaman Equine.
KEESEP2021 • $180,000 • Consignor: Warrendale Sales • Buyer: Andrew N. Warren.

Of course, while he was doing all that, one of the weirdest Kentucky Derby (G1) preps of the year unfolded as a huge field of 14 battled over a sealed, muddy track and despite the obstacle of a loose horse on the lead in the stretch and a few adventurous trips, Andrew and Rania Warren’s Raise Cain took charge in the stretch. He posted a lopsided 7 1/2-length victory over Slip Mahoney —as a hurried but overjoyed Colebrook watched the 24-1 upset from his cell phone in the cab.

“It was a hit-and-run, my man,” Colebrook said by phone while exiting the car.

The victory was the second in six starts for the bay colt and came on the heels of a fifth in the Leonatus Stakes on Tapeta at Turfway and a second before that in the Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

“It was a big-time race,” Colebrook said about the produce of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemon Belle bred in Kentucky by Rock Ridge Thoroughbreds. “He always acted like he had it in him, but he never had the right setup. And man, what a ride (by Jose Lezcano). It was poetry in motion.”

Raise Cain wins the 2023 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Dom Napolitano

Raise Cain after his victory in the Gotham Stakes

At a one-turn mile distance in early March, the Gotham is the shortest of the remaining Run for the Roses preps, yet it provided Raise Cain with 50 qualifying points to assure him of a spot in the field for the opening leg of the Triple Crown.

“You have to consider him,” Colebrook said about the May 6 Kentucky Derby, “because distance shouldn’t be a problem. He’s so laid back. He’s getting, better and better. He’ll come home to Kentucky, and we’ll think about the Wood (G2, April 8 at Aqueduct) or Blue Grass (G1, April 8 at Keeneland).

Colebrook has a stable at Keeneland, where the horse trained leading up to the Gotham.

The complexion of the Gotham changed shortly after the break when Howgreatisnate stumbled and jockey J.D. Acosta fell off. Both horse and jockey came away from the mishap fine as the riderless Howgreatisnate gave chase from the outside and reached the front as the field entered the final turn, creating a problem for Eric Cancel on the early leader, Carmel Road .

“I had a rough trip from the five/eighths on. The loose horse made my horse go faster than I wanted,” said Cancel, whose mount faded to eighth as the 9-2 second choice.

The trip was relatively smoother for Lezcano and Raise Cain. Though they checked off heels while moving up along the inside approaching the quarter pole in the overflow field, Lezcano guided Raise Cain out a few paths, and he motored past everyone, including the loose horse, who was second under the wire (but officially last due to not carrying a rider).

Raise Cain, a $180,000 buy from the Warrendale Sales consignment at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, covered the mile in 1:38.09 and paid $49.

Gold Square’s Slip Mahoney, who was making his stakes debut for trainer Brad Cox off a maiden win, will likely return for the 1 1/8-mile Wood, which will not be a big ask for the son of Arrogate , who broke slowly and lost ground in rallying nine-wide from 13th.

“I don’t think he’ll have any problem stretching out after this,” said Joe Hardoon, racing manager for owner Al Gold. “I can’t complain about the way he closed after running so wide.”

Slip Mahoney received 20 qualifying points.

Seacrest Thoroughbreds of N.E.’s New York-bred General Banker was 1 1/2 lengths back in the third, giving a him a trio of third-place finishes in New York’s three Kentucky Derby preps. Trained by Jimmy Ferraro, the son of Central Banker picked up 15 points and now has 24.

Eyeing Clover , the 3-1 favorite, was fourth (10 points), followed by Clear the Air (five points).