A homebred, Ajaaweed is out of Shadwell’s multiple stakes-placed mare Asiya, a daughter of the late His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s brilliant Grade 1 Cigar Mile winner Daaher. All four of Asiya’s offspring to race have been winners, including Pletcher-trained Zaajel (Street Sense), winner of the Grade 3 Forward Gal at Gulfstream this winter.
The Hall of Fame conditioner is hoping that there is more progress to come from the long-striding 4-year-old colt. Winning the Brooklyn could lead to a plethora of opportunities down the road in New York, especially.
“If he were to run well in here, we have the (Grade 2, $400,000) Suburban (Handicap, July 3) at a mile and a quarter as an option for him,” Pletcher said. “There’s also the (Listed, $120,000) Birdstone (Stakes, Aug. 5) at a mile and three-quarters at Saratoga. We do have some options with him. We’ll see how he goes in here, but at least we do have some races to keep us occupied.”
In what will be just his ninth lifetime start, Ajaaweed breaks from post 7 of nine declared for the complete circuit of Belmont Park. At odds of 5/1, he is the fifth choice on the morning line and has the riding services of Hall of Famer Johnny Velazquez.