Gotham Stakes an option for Strike Power

OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- Trainer Mark Hennig was in New York on Wednesday, getting a little taste of winter as snow fell gently outside of his Belmont Park office.

Like most trainers with a talented 3-year-old, Hennig has spring in his thoughts as he plots next steps for Strike Power, impressive winner of last Saturday's Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

While the Fountain of Youth on March 3 at Gulfstream Park heads the list of possible next starts for Strike Power, Hennig said that the son of Speightstown would be nominated to the Grade 3, $350,000 Gotham on March 10 at Aqueduct. The Gotham is a one-turn mile and would continue the distance progression for Strike Power who won his maiden at 5 1/2 furlongs and the Swale at seven. The Gotham winner also earns 50 qualifying points to the May 5 Kentucky Derby.

"I would think it would be a little softer spot than what the Fountain of Youth would be," Hennig said. "Just got to weigh the options -- shipping, what's the weather going to be like? He likes the track there, obviously. Right now, we're leaning towards down there, but [the Gotham] is certainly open for discussion."

Hennig said that Strike Power returned to the track at Gulfstream on Wednesday morning.