Neural Network gets Gander via DQ

Saturday, February 25th, 2023

Manny Franco signals the victory aboard Neural Network after the Gander. Joe Labozzetta/NYRA photo

By Melissa Bauer-Herzog

Milfer Farm-bred Neural Network picked up his first stakes win when the son of Cloud Computing earned a victory in the $100,000 Gander Stakes after Maker’s Candy was disqualified for interference.

Bouncing back from a fourth in the $150,000 Jerome Stakes last month, Neural Network again tackled the one-mile distance at Aqueduct. The colt broke evenly with the rest of the field, raced two wide in fourth as D’ont Lose Cruz set a pressured lead with Maker’s Candy on his hip.

The field clocked the first quarter in :23.84 and half in :47.42 without any serious moves made down the backstretch before Manny Franco let Neural Network out a notch. That was all the colt needed to start his pursuit of the two horses in front of him with Franco working hard to make sure he took his task seriously.

While Neural Network was hard ridden in third as he steadily made progress on the leaders, Maker’s Candy and D’ont Lose Cruz engaged in a duel down the stretch with Maker’s Candy taking the lead in the final furlong. Neural Network finally clicked into his top gear and closed late on Maker’s Candy but had to dodge the drifting leader and check near the wire when Maker’s Candy weaved into his path once more.

After an inquiry and a foul claim by Franco, stewards determined that Maker’s Candy’s stretch run had interfered enough name Neural Network the winner with Maker’s Candy demoted to second after 1:38.64. Dr. Kraft was third.

“The blinkers helped me a lot. He put me in a forward position. I don’t want to be too far away. I think the kickback [in the Jerome] – he doesn’t like it all – so, I used my post to my advantage,” Franco said after the race. “The distance is fine for him. I think he can go a mile, mile and an eighth.”

A $120,000 purchase by West Bloodstock from Legacy Bloodstock at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale, Neural Network is trained by Chad Brown for Klaravich Stables. The colt has nearly earned back that pricetag with two wins and $102,000 earned in three starts.

Foaled at Milfer Farm in Unadilla, Neural Network is out of the winning Street Cry mare Lapinski. Milfer bought that mare from Godolphin carrying Hard Spun filly Spun for Lu Lu for $82,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

A half-sister to stakes winner Sunset Wish, Lapinski is a granddaughter of Grade 1 winner and top broodmare Cara Rafaela. Among Cara Rafaela’s foals are champion and successful sire Bernardini and the dam of Grade 1 winner Love And Pride. Love And Pride herself is the dam of two stakes winners.

Lapinski had a New York-bred Preservationist filly named Wrong One the year after Neural Network was born and foaled a New York-bred Gormley colt last year. Lapinski made another trip to Kentucky after foaling that colt in late April to visit Paynter for her 2023 foal.

Neural Network (left) closes on Maker’s Candy near the finish of Saturday’s Gander. NYRA photo

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