Gigante takes Woodchopper S. for second straight black type win

Not This Time’s Gigante closed out his stellar 2023 campaign on Dec. 30 at Fair Grounds with a hard-fought victory in the $100,000 Woodchopper S.

The 3-year-old colt won four stakes over the calendar year, topped by the Secretariat S. (G2), and finished out the year with wins in the Nov. 26 Commonwealth Turf S. at Churchill Downs prior to winning the Woodchopper.

Not This Time, who is in the top 10 on the General Sire list with nearly $13 million in progeny earnings, leads the Fourth-Crop list by a wide margin. He will stand the 2024 season at Taylor Made for $150,000 S&N.

After racing in mid-pack several lengths from the lead through the first five furlongs, Gigante began a three-wide move for the lead on the final turn. He hooked up with Northern Invader at the top of the stretch, setting the stage for the dramatic finish. The duo raced together most of the way, with Gigante edging away late to win by a neck in 1:36.70 for the “about” one mile on the firm turf.

“We got a little bump out of the gate, but after that we got a great trip,” jockey Edgar Morales said. “I followed the favorite all around there, and when I tipped him out, he did his job and battled to the wire.”

Gigante is now 6-0-1 in 13 starts, with five lifetime stakes wins, and earnings of $975,475 for owners Iapetus Racing LLC and Diamond T Racing LLC.

Gigante, who sold for $120,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling sale, was bred by Ann Mudge Backer and Smitten Farm.

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