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Stay Thirsty, Toby's Corner are top two picks in Gotham

Stay Thirsty has his own special place in owner Mike Repole's heart. Now, the son of Bernardini will get his own chance at the spotlight this Saturday.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Stay Thirsty will make his seasonal debut this weekend when he headlines a field of nine as the 9-to-5 morning line favorite in the Grade III, $250,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.

The 11⁄16-mile Gotham will go off as race No. 10 on the card and also features Whirl-away Stakes winner Toby's Corner.

Stay Thirsty put himself on the radar last September when he ran second in the Grade I Hopeful Stakes in his third career start. However, the dark bay colt has been heavily overshadowed by his stablemate Uncle Mo, the reigning 2-year-old champion and runaway winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile — a race in which Stay Thirsty finished fifth.

Repole, who also owns Uncle Mo, has always maintained Stay Thirsty was a horse who would hit his best stride as a 3-year-old. When the colt breaks from post position No. 5 under jockey Ramon Dominguez on Saturday, Repole hopes the most overshadowed member of his roster gains a little attention for himself.

"I think when Stay Thirsty gets into the starting gate Saturday, he's going to look to his left, look to his right, and have a big smile on his face when he sees Uncle Mo isn't there," Repole said Wednesday. "He's like Rodney Dangerfield, he gets no respect. When people talk to me, they all want to talk about Uncle Mo, but Thirsty has been working with Uncle Mo and been working great. Saturday is his day."

Toby's Corner figures to be the biggest challenger to Stay Thirsty. The chestnut son of Bellamy Road has won his past three starts, including a 2-length victory in the 11⁄16-mile Whirlaway Stakes on Feb. 5, and he was installed as the 5-2 second choice in the field.

Trained by Graham Motion, Toby's Corner will break just inside of Stay Thirsty from post position No. 4 and will have Eddie Castro in the irons.

"Every race is a step up, and I hope he shows he belongs with these caliber horses," Motion said.

Jockey cuts off fingers

NEW YORK — Jockey Jean-Luc Samyn will be sidelined for a month after cutting off two fingers and breaking another in a snowblower accident at his home in New York.

The 54-year-old was unclogging the machine on Feb. 21 with the power turned off when the blade moved and cut off two-thirds of the index and middle fingers on his right hand. He also broke the ring finger on his right hand.

Samyn hopes to return to riding in late March. The native of France has won 2,611 races in his 36-year career and more than 110 stakes victories in New York.

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