Trainer David Duggan expressed a sense of cautious optimism with recent graded stakes winner Drafted as he is set to take on a tougher task in the $300,000 Carter Handicap (G1) April 9 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The 8-year-old son of Field Commission was an easy 4 1/2-length winner of the Grade 3 Toboggan on February 5 at the Big A, earning a 97 Beyer Speed Figure. The win was his first since capturing the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai in March 2019.
Drafted will have his work cut out for him in the Carter, where he is likely to face accomplished graded stakes winners Green Light Go, First Captain, and Speaker’s Corner.
“The field will be a bit deeper when we go in there, but off the last race we’re taking a shot,” Duggan said.
Duggan envisions a good pace up front in the Carter, which he said will be to his horse’s benefit.
“You can never predict but obviously, our horse is better with a pace to run at,” Duggan said. “I think the quality of horses will dictate the pace, they should go a good, fast pace. A true run race. We’re running numbers that are competitive. Whether we’re good enough is a question mark. This a tough event and if we show up great, and if not, we’ll dust ourselves off.”
Following three starts for Godolphin and trainer Eoin Harty, Drafted was campaigned in Dubai by John Hyde’s Misty Hollow Farm, who maintained ownership of the horse in the United States under Duggan up until his fifth-place finish in last year’s Grade 3 Runhappy in May at Belmont.
Hyde, who also pretrains young horses for Shadwell Farm in Dubai, sold Drafted to his current ownership group which consists of Dublin Fjord Stables, Racepoint Stables, Kevin D. Hilbert, and Thomas E. O’Keefe.
“He [Hyde] bought him in Dubai and was part of the ownership there. When it ran its course over there, he sent the horse over to us,” Duggan said. “We had given him some time during the year because he had a minor injury. He got hurt when he ran in the Runhappy and we gave him some time off after that. When he was coming back, that’s when John wanted to sell, and we put the partnership together.”