Sunny Ridge is the odds-on favorite in the Jazil at Aqueduct

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Sunny Ridge is the odds-on favorite in the Jazil at Aqueduct


By Matt Shifman


The feature at Aqueduct on Saturday, January 26, is the $100,000 Jazil Stakes which will be run at a mile and an eighth. Even money morning line favorite Sunny Ridge headlines a field of seven of older horses.


Seven-year-old Sunny Ridge, who last time out was third in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, has career earnings of more than $1 million. The Jason Servis trainee has raced in graded stakes company in his prior three starts. July was the last time that he raced in a listed stakes race and, on that day, he won the State Dinner going a mile and a sixteenth at Belmont Park.


The Jazil is named for the 2006 winner of the Belmont Stakes. The son of Seeking the Gold was owned by Shadwell Stable and was trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. He was purchased at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling auction for $725,000. Jazil finished in a dead heat for fourth in the Kentucky Derby that was won by Barbaro.


Last year’s winner of the Jazil, Backsideofthemoon, returns at Aqueduct to try and find the winner’s circle again. Just as he did in 2018, the Leo O’Brien trainee came off a short layoff to finish third in a $80,000 conditioned allowance race. Also a 7-year-old, the son of Malibu Moon has career earnings of more than $400,000. Backsideofthemoon has an affinity for the Big A where he has a record of 11: 2-3-3.


O’Brien will make an equipment change for Saturday to correct a problem which showed up in that Aqueduct allowance.


“In his last race, he jumped a set of tracks so we’ll put a nose band [shadow roll] on him so he doesn’t see any tracks,” said O’Brien. “It was a very good effort. Ever since I got him, he just keeps getting better and better.”


Backsideofthemoon prefers to race from off the pace and make his move from a stalking position.


“He is training quite well. His last two works have been quite good. He’s an easy horse to train and very willing,” explained O’Brien. “I’ve found that he rather likes to run at a horse, so he needs a target to run at.”


We recognize Title Ready from the big 3-year-old races of 2018. He was fourth in the Rebel and the Ohio Derby and third in the Indiana Derby. Trainer Steve Asmussen gave him time off after that rigorous campaign. He has come back to run second in the Discovery and most recently win an allowance, both at Aqueduct.


The Jazil field includes: Holiday Bonus [PP 1 – ML 10-1], Backsideofthemoon [PP 2 – ML 8-1], Title Ready [PP 3 – ML 4-1], Hero’s Welcome [PP 4 – ML 30-1], Mr. Buff [PP 5 – ML 5-1], Thebigfundamental [PP 6 – ML 9-2], and Sunny Ridge [PP 7 – ML 1-1].


Post time for Saturday’s 10-race card is 12:25 pm ET and the feature is slated as race 8.


The Jazil is the first leg of the Saturday Special Pick 3 from the New York Hot List. Be sure to check at this website for the complete Hot List analysis of the Saturday card and get that Pick 3 play. It’s free at