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Six Entered in Gravesend Saturday
Saturday’s feature race at Aqueduct is the $100,000 Gravesend Handicap for three-year-olds and up going six furlongs on the dirt. Six have been entered, ranging from the three-year-old Florida-bred Battier, who is looking for his first win since April, to the seven-year-old gelding Frazil, who was fourth in this race last year after winning it in 2011. The four-year-old New York bred Palace has been installed as the 7-5 morning line favorite for the race, and along with Frazil and Abra the former graded-stakes winner is one of three trained by Linda Rice.
Palace has shown ability moving up the ranks
Having raced primarily in the optional claiming and allowance ranks through most of his career, Palace has only been out of the money twice in 14 starts, and one of those came as a result of a DNF. Three starts back he moved up to the minor stakes level and reeled off two wins, and followed those up with a 1 1/2 length score in the Grade III Fall Heavyweight Handicap. The second-place finisher in that race, Strapping Groom, will be back in this and is the second ML choice at 2-1. He won the Grade I Forego at Saratoga in August.
Battier has recently faced tough competition
The others outside of the top two look to be in tough and will likely be hoping just to get a piece at the end. As the third ML choice at 4-1, Battier has also recently been running at the graded-stakes level, and has a pair of third-place finishes for his efforts, most significantly three starts back in the Pennsylvania Derby, where he was 2 1/2 lengths back of Three Year Old Champion contender Will Take Charge, in a race run over 1 1/8 miles. He went a mile to finish third in his last, so the cut back in distance could help.
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