El Areeb’s next start has been confirmed by his trainer Cal Lynch and it’s the $300,000 Gotham Stakes (G3), which will be held at Aqueduct Racetrack on March 4.
Winning the Gotham Stakes would go a long way in ensuring El Areeb earns a spot in the Kentucky Derby, as it’s one of the races included in the Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races. Winning the Gotham Stakes would net 50 qualifying points. El Areeb is currently tied for second with 20 points.
El Areeb is on a current hot streak, having won four races in a row, which includes the Jerome Stakes (G3) and the Withers Stakes (G3). Both of those wins make up his 20 qualifying points.
“I wanted to make sure (to) give him the time coming out of the last race just to make sure everything was OK,” said Lynch. “I spoke to the bosses this morning and told them I was comfortable that the horse was doing really well, so I didn’t see any reason not to go ahead and take a run at the Gotham.”
On February 4, El Areeb put in his first work since winning the Withers. He ran four furlongs in a time of :47 4/5, five furlongs in 1:00, and six furlongs in 1:13.
“The horse came out of his work really good. He’ll have one more work and then we’ll go to the Gotham,” said Lynch. “We’re still going race by race. We’ve got no plans beyond this one race.”
The last work before the Gotham for El Areeb is scheduled for February 26.