On hiatus since finishing eighth in the Matron final, North America Cup winner Lather Up debuts in the first division of the Graduate Series opening preliminary. Surpassing $1 million in earnings with a second-place finish in the Breeders Crown, Lather Up enters off three qualifiers, breaking stride in his most recent but still posting a 1:52.3 mile with a :27.3 final quarter. The Clyde Francis-trained son of Im Gorgeous, who races for owners Gary and Barbara Iles, starts from post seven in the 12-horse field—going one-and-one-eighth miles—with regular pilot Montrell Teague behind.
Ron Burke trainee Dorsoduro Hanover makes his four-year-old debut against Lather Up off a $1.2-million campaign as a three-year-old. Winning the Breeders Crown, Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship and Adios while finishing second in the Meadowlands Pace and the Little Brown Jug, the Somebeachsomewhere stallion qualified twice—his most recent a 1:52.1 mile—since last racing on Nov. 29 in the Progress Pace. Matt Kakaley drives from post five for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables, Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Wingfield Brothers LLC.
Will Take Charge returns to the $175,200 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial after finishing second by a neck to Hannelore Hanover last year. The six-year-old Kadabra stallion has raced thrice in 2019—winless in each bow against Open company at Yonkers Raceway. Jeff Gillis trains the millionaire trotter who represented Canada in the $1,000,000 International Trot last season and finished seventh to Cruzado Dela Noche, who starts from post three in the Cutler. Scott Zeron will drive from post five in the mile-and-an-eighth affair.
Little Brown Jug- and Meadowlands Pace-champ Courtly Choice returns to the track in the second Graduate split from post two. The four-year-old Art Major stallion, slated to stand at Winbak Farms late last season, reentered the training regiment poised for the aged stakes ranks. Earning nearly $1 million with his Grand Circuit campaign last year, the Blake MacIntosh trainee resurfaced at Woodbine Mohawk Park on April 11 with a 1:53 qualifier and followed a week later with a 1:50.4 mile. Regular driver David Miller sits in the bike in the 12-horse competition.
The 13-race card begins on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). The Graduate Pace splits go as Races 7 and 11 while the Cutler Memorial goes as Race 9.