Horse Racing

2024 Gotham Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

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2024 Gotham Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

The 2024 Gotham Stakes takes place on Saturday, March 2, at Aqueduct. A Grade 3 race at a mile on the dirt, it offers a $300,000 purse and 50-25-15-10-5 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby for its top five finishers. Like in many of the preps on the March stakes calendar, this means the winner is virtually guaranteed a place in the Kentucky Derby, and horses who run well can put themselves in a good place if they run in another prep or two.

Many of the top contenders in the race are making their graded stakes debut, including impressive maiden winners Just a Touch and Deterministic, as well as Jimmy Winkfield winner Bergen. Some others have graded stakes experience, though, like Grade 3-placed El Grande O and Lightline. With 13 horses in the field and horses likely to improve at any time, this race can be ripe for a surprise, just like last year when 23-1 shot Raise Cain won with authority.

Stars who have won the Gotham include breed-shaping sire Native Dancer (1953), dirt mile world record holder Dr. Fager (1967), Triple Crown winner Secretariat (1973), and Belmont winner Easy Goer (1989). The most recent Gotham winner to go on and win a Triple Crown race was Red Bullet (2000), who went on to upset the Preakness.

Gotham Stakes 2024 Information

  • Race Date: Saturday, March 2, 2024
  • Track: Aqueduct Racetrack
  • Post Time: 5:36 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Age/Sex: three-year-olds
  • Where to Watch: FanDuel TV, CNBC
  • Where to Bet: and FanDuel Racing

Gotham Stakes Odds

These are the entrants in the Gotham Stakes, including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds.

ML Odds
1KhanateTodd PletcherJose Gomez30-1
2Maximus MeridiusRobert Reid, Jr.Mychel Sanchez20-1
3DeterministicChristophe ClementJoel Rosario9-2
4FacendaDoug O’NeillAbel Cedillo50-1
5DepositionUriah St. LewisDexter Haddock50-1
6Air CavBrad CoxEric Cancel30-1
7El Grande OLinda RiceKendrick Carmouche8-1
View Full Table

Gotham Stakes Prep Results

Unsurprisingly, there are multiple horses coming into the Gotham out of the 1 ⅛-mile Withers (G3), the previous Kentucky Derby points race offered by the New York Racing Association. Though winner Uncle Heavy is bypassing the Gotham, the next four horses across the wire all return here: second-place El Grande O, third-place Lightline, fourth-place Deposition, and fifth-place Khanate. Two others come out of a different stakes race at Aqueduct: Bergen and Air Cav finished first and third, respectively, in the six-furlong Jimmy Winkfield.

The only other horse coming out of a stakes race is Slider. Based on the West Coast for his entire career before the Gotham, he was most recently third behind Muth in the San Vicente (G2).

The rest of the runners all make their stakes debut in the Gotham. Maximus Meridus comes out of a first-level allowance win at Parx, going six and a half furlongs in the mud. The rest all come out of maiden wins. Three did so in special weight races on the New York Racing Association circuit: Deterministic won a seven-furlong sprint at Saratoga last August, Capital Idea graduated at a mile at Aqueduct in January, and Eliminate won at six and a half furlongs at Aqueduct in February. Two others graduated on other circuits in January: Facenda broke his maiden in a five-and-a-half-furlong maiden-optional claiming sprint at Turf Paradise, while Just a Touch won a six-furlong maiden special weight sprint at Fair Grounds.

Gotham Stakes Contenders

These are the contenders in the Gotham Stakes, organized by post position:

Khanate: He impressed in a seven-furlong sprint at Keeneland last fall, but has yet to win in three starts since, including a pair of Kentucky Derby trail races. The post also puts him in a tough place, as he is drawn at the inside of a large field and will have a lot of other speed to contend with.

Maximus Meridius: In his first foray outside of Parx, he stretches out to a mile for the first time. Trainer Robert Reid does well with stretch-outs, and the sharp victory at six and a half furlongs bodes well for the one-turn mile. However, drawn relatively inside of a lot of other speed, he may not get the best trip.

Deterministic: He cedes experience to the rest of the field, as he only has a debut maiden win to his name. That came last August at Saratoga. However, he overcame a lot of trouble and was able to rally into a modest pace. He likely gets an even better setup this time around, and should find the one-turn mile no problem. And, trainer Christophe Clement excels with layoff runners.

Facenda: He won his debut in stalk-and-pounce fashion at Turf Paradise. This is a huge step up, though: he goes from an optional-claiming maiden race (even though he was protected) to the Kentucky Derby trail. His pedigree is fine for the mile, but he is going to need to go a lot faster than he did against that softer company, making this look like too much, too soon.

Deposition: He has just one win in seven starts, a two-turn maiden at Parx. However, he strapped on blinkers for the Withers and ran a decent third at 71-1 odds in that race. It was a promising move forward, and his post isn’t bad. The biggest question is distance: his best form has come at two turns, and the turn back to the one-turn mile doesn’t suit him as well as others.

Air Cav: He graduated on debut at Indiana Grand, but has been well beaten in two stakes races since then. Perhaps he moves forward second off the lay, as Brad Cox trainees often do, though he has yet to run a race that makes him competitive against Kentucky Derby trail contenders and he may be overbet because he is trained by Cox.

El Grande O: This Linda Rice trainee is downright seasoned: ten starts, three wins, six more money finishes. Though all three of his wins have come in New York-bred company, he missed by a nose in the Withers after disputing the pace. The biggest question is pace because he will have a lot of company up front, but he has shown enough ability to do the dirty work and keep on fighting that he could get another piece.

Bergen: This Brad Cox trainee has run three times, and all his races have been solid. Both his wins have come at six furlongs, with his only defeat at a mile, so he still has to prove himself at the distance. But, his pedigree suggests it should suit him as he grows up, and he took a nice step forward when romping in the Jimmy Winkfield last out. It’s also a positive that he has shown such pace versatility.

Eliminate: He ran his best race yet last out, breaking his maiden at six and a half furlongs on the Aqueduct course. He did so from off the pace, a style that should do well in the Gotham with so much pace entered. He needs to take a step forward from a speed perspective, but trainer Todd Pletcher often does move horses up second off the lay, and has a good feel for when to step a runner up to graded stakes. He has some price potential.

Just a Touch: The “A” entrant from the Brad Cox barn, he debuted with a strong maiden win at Fair Grounds on January 27 and steps up to the Kentucky Derby trail now. The race came back fast, though it was in the slop. The chance of rain on Saturday certainly helps him in that regard. He is bred top and bottom for the stretch out, too; if he can be tactical over this longer trip, he has a good chance.

Lightline: Another Cox trainee, he won on debut at Indiana Grand and has hit the board in his next three starts, including a third-place finish in the Withers last out. He has been versatile enough to work trips, a positive from this near-outside gate, and his form is going the right way. The big question is how he handles the trip; all his starts have come at two turns.

Slider: He is a winner on both turf and dirt, and the only time he missed the board was in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1). He has true dash-distance speed and should be part of the front ranks, though he flattened out in a seven-furlong sprint last out, and very little about his form suggests he wants to go all the way out to a mile.

Capital Idea: Both his starts have come over this course and distance in maiden company; he graduated last out over the slop. Still, his fast-track debut was good enough to suggest he can handle that footing as well. The far-outside draw may prove challenging, but he could work a clean and tactical trip.

Gotham Stakes Past Winners Past Performances

Five of the last ten winners of the Gotham have come out of stakes races at Aqueduct, though not all have been Derby preps. Samraat (2014) came out of a win in the Withers (G3), while El Kabeir (2015) was most recently second in that race, and J Boys Echo (2018) was third. More recently, it has been another stakes that has supplied Gotham winners: Haikal (2019) and Morello (2023) both came out of wins in the Jimmy Winkfield, a sprint stakes at Aqueduct.

Two other recent winners of this race came out of stakes at Gulfstream. Mischevious Alex (2020) won the Swale (G3) in his start before the Gotham, while Enticed (2018) was fourth in the Holy Bull (G2). Another recent winner, Raise Cain (2023), came from a fifth-place try in the Leonatus at Turfway.

Only two of the last ten Gotham winners came out of non-stakes races. Shagaf (2016) came out of an allowance win at Gulfstream and made his stakes debut in the Gotham. Weyburn (2021) came out of a maiden special weight win at Aqueduct and won his first try against winners in this race.

Gotham Stakes Undercard

The Gotham Stakes will be the tenth and final race at Aqueduct on Saturday. One of the bigger days on the winter stakes schedule at Aqueduct, there are three other added-money events in addition to the Gotham. Kentucky Oaks prospects will contest the $200,000 Busher Stakes, older dirt sprinters contest the $175,000 Tom Fool (G3), and older milers line up for the $150,000 Stymie.

With all this action at Aqueduct, and Kentucky Derby preps this weekend at Gulfstream, Santa Anita, and Turfway as well, it is a great weekend to watch on FanDuel TV and wager through FanDuel and TVG!

About Aqueduct

An oldie, but a goodie, Aqueduct (familiarly called the Big A) opened up in 1894 in Queens, New York. The track was closed in 1956 for renovations, with an updated version opening in 1959. The only racetrack within the New York City limits, it has been updated several times since then. In 1975, they laid an inner track, and in 2017, the inner dirt track was replaced with a second turf course.

Aqueduct has been the site of many moments in racing history. In the 1944 running of the Carter, fans witnessed the first—and still only—triple dead heat in a stakes race when Brownie, Bossuet, and Wait a Bit crossed the wire at the same time. Between 1963 and 1967, Aqueduct hosted the Belmont Stakes as Belmont was being renovated. In 1973, Secretariat’s retirement ceremony happened at Aqueduct.

In 2013, Aqueduct embraced its position as a true city track by inviting street artists to paint murals in the grandstand of Aqueduct. An exciting overlap of classic racing scenes and modern style, the murals help make Aqueduct a fascinating, unique destination to enjoy a day of horse racing.

Gotham Stakes FAQ

Q: When and where is the Gotham Stakes?

A: The Gotham Stakes will be run on Saturday, March 2, at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York. Post time is at 5:36 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and it is the tenth and final race on the card.

Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Gotham Stakes?

A: Two trainers have three wins in the Gotham Stakes: Kiaran McLaughlin and Shug McGaughey. McGaughey is still actively training, though he does not have an entrant in this year’s edition. Among trainers with a horse in the Gotham this year, Todd Pletcher leads with two. He won with Cowtown Cat (2007) and Stay Thirsty (2011), and returns this year with Eliminate and Khanate.

Q: Who is the favorite for the Gotham Stakes?

A: Off an impressive maiden score at Fair Grounds, Just a Touch is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Gotham. However, given the field size and Just a Touch’s relative inexperience, watch for action on other foes, including Deterministic (9-2 morning line), Bergen (9-2 morning line), and El Grande O (8-1 morning line).

Q: Who is the best Gotham Stakes jockey?

A: Seven different jockeys have won three editions of the Gotham: Jorge Velasquez, Angel Cordero, Jr., Jacinto Vasquez, Richard Migliore, Ramon Dominguez, Mike Smith, and Jose Lezcano. Lezcano will attempt to extend that record this year, as he rides Slider.

Q: Who won the 2023 Gotham Stakes?

A: Raise Cain won the 2023 Gotham for trainer Ben Colebrook and jockey Jose Lezcano. Colebrook does not have a runner this year, though Lezcano rides Slider for John Sadler.

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