Ten Strike Racing’s Eyeing Clover (Lookin at Lucky), unbeaten in two lifetime starts, could make his stakes debut in the Mar. 4 GIII Gotham S. at Aqueduct. The Brad Cox trainee opened his career with a 1 1/2-length victory going six furlongs at Oaklawn Park Dec. 31 and aired by 9 3/4 lengths going that same distance in a Fair Grounds allowance Jan. 28 (video).
A win in the one-mile Gotham could earn Eyeing Clover a trip back to Oaklawn for the Apr. 1 GI Arkansas Derby, according to Ten Strike co-managing partner Marshall Gramm.
“The core of our partners are Arkansans and we wanted to use this step towards the Arkansas Derby,” Gramm said. “That’s a race we’d really love to win and participate in. For us, the dream race is the Arkansas Derby and the Gotham seems like a good stepping stone for it. We didn’t want to quite jump up from an allowance to first time routing in the [GII] Rebel [at Oaklawn Park] next week from a timing standpoint and that race looks really tough. But the Gotham looks like it could be a really competitive race as well.”
Eyeing Clover, who was purchased by bloodstock agent Liz Crow on behalf of Ten Strike for $55,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September sale, is a half-brother to speedy graded stakes winner Heavenhasmynikki (Majestic Warrior).
“We’ve been huge Lookin at Lucky fans and we think this one is going to get better as the distances get longer, though his female family is fairly sprint-based,” Gramm said. “We’re excited about coming to New York for the Gotham and excited about the horse’s future. They bred a speedy female family to Lookin at Lucky and it’s given us an early developer. We have every reason to believe, based on the sire, that he should improve going longer and we hope the Gotham is that first step towards the Arkansas Derby.”
Gramm continued, “We’ve been working with Liz and she buys all of our yearlings and 2-year-olds. This was one that really jumped out at her. It was a fast-looking Lookin at Lucky and she knew our affinity for the stallion and loved the female family as well. Hopefully, putting those two together can put us on the trail.”
Eyeing Clover worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 (4/48) at Fair Grounds Saturday.
Cox could also be represented in the Gotham by Slip Mahoney (Arrogate), who broke his maiden going one mile at Aqueduct Jan. 21. Owned by Gold Square LLC, the gray colt worked five furlongs in 1:01.00 (3/18) over Belmont’s training track Saturday.
The Gotham is the penultimate New York prep on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and awards the top-five finishers points based off a 50-20-15-10-5 scale. The nine-furlong Arkansas Derby is a 100-40-30-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifier.