Shagaf pulls out Gotham win, moves into Derby picture

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NEW YORK (AP) Shagaf closed with a rush and won the $400,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday to improve his record to 3-0 and move into contention for the Kentucky Derby.

The 3-year-old colt earned 50 Derby qualifying points with the narrow victory over Laoban, who earned 20 points. Adventist was third for 10 points and Sunny Ridge fourth for five points.

With Laoban on the lead for much of the race, Shagaf and rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. began picking up steam in the stretch running three wide. The colt caught the leader in the final strides. The winning time for 1 1-16 miles was 1:45.90.

Two races earlier, Ortiz was unseated after his horse stumbled in the gallop out after the race. Ortiz missed the next race, but returned to win and said he felt great. Shagaf is trained by Chad Brown.