There is actually a legit Derby contender here in New York, and Galloping Grocer (A.P Jet) will make his 3 yo debut in the 1 1/16 Whirlaway Stakes at the Big A. He won his first three races against fellow New York-breds by a combined margin of 31 3/4 lengths, and proved he was for real in defeat, a neck loss to Rockport Harbor in the 9 furlong Grade 2 Remsen on Nov 27, earning a Beyer of 102, his best. While other contenders headed for warmer climes, his trainer Dominick Schettino opted to keep him at his home quarters at Belmont Park. He resumed working out on Jan 12, and after three fast ones, his last workout was an easy 6 furlongs in 1:15:1.
"He's training fine and has filled out nicely," said Schettino. "I didn't want him to go too fast in his last workout because I don't want him too geared up off the layoff. I want him to break and be able to settle." [Bloodhorse]Galloping Grocer's dosage index is right on the cusp at 4.0. Plenty of speed in his first four generations – In Reality and Dr. Fager, and he’s inbred 4x4 to champion sprinter Intentionally, through In Reality and a daughter. In addition, he’s from the Mr. Prospector line, as A.P Jet, who stands in NY for $5000, is a son of Fappiano, and a full brother to multiple stakes winner and millionaire Tappiano. However, he also has Derby winner Tim Tam, as well as Forli (sire of Forego) and his son grass specialist Intrepid Hero.
Galloping Grocer hasn't scared off rivals, as nine of them will line up to face him, including a couple of sharp improving colts in the more fashionably bred Naughty New Yorker (Quiet American), and Scrappy T (Fit to Fight). They ran 1-2 in the Count Fleet here last month with lifetime high Beyers of 97 and 95. While Scrappy T may look to mix it up with the favorite (who has shown ability to stalk close behind), Naughty New Yorker would close from way back if a duel develops up front. Aaron Gryder replaces John Velasquez on Grocer, as the latter will be at Oaklawn to ride Harlington.
- THIS JUST IN - Roman Ruler unlikely for San Vicente. [Bloodhorse]