Bill Heller’s New York-Breds at the Races: February 15 to 18

New-Look Bavaro Wins the Hollie Hughes From Off the Pace Monday

By Bill Heller

Photo: Susie Raisher

Showing a brand-new dimension by racing from off the pace under Junior Alvarado, All in the Family Racing’s new claim, the imposing five-year-old gray horse Bavaro, won his first start for his new connections on President’s Day Monday at Aqueduct. Sent off the slight 7-5 favorite in an accomplished field of six – each with more than $200,000 in earnings – Bavaro made the lead with a mid-race rally, opened a three-length advantage and coasted home to a one-length victory in the six-furlong $100,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes for New York-breds. Bavaro won his third straight race for new trainer Linda Rice in a final time of 1:11.78.

Celtic Chaos, sent off at odds of 3-1 under Eric Cancel, rallied strongly to finish second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Eye Luv Lulu, the 3-2 second choice ridden by Jose Lezcano. Front-running Tribecca, who went off at 9-1 odds under Manny Franco, held on for fourth, a length and a quarter behind Eye Luv Lulu.

Hidden Lake Farm and Gunston Hall Farm bred Bavaro, a son of Freud out of Chantess by Unbridled’s Song who was originally owned by New York Giants’ Hall of Fame Coach Bill Parcells, who named the horse for the Giants’ All-Pro tight end Mark Bavaro.

All in the Family Racing claimed Bavaro for $25,000 on January 11th, when he captured his second straight race by 8 ½ lengths at 2-5 odds. Alvarado was aboard for both those wins, each won wire-to-wire.

“I was pretty excited about running him here today off the claim,” Rice said. “He had been training really well. Junior rode him beautifully. So we’re very happy. This was the first stakes win for All in the Family Racing, so I’m very happy for them as well.”

On Monday, Bavaro got away fourth as Tribecca opened a one-length lead on Eye Luv Lulu through a :22.65 first quarter-mile. Alvarado then moved Bavaro up on the outside into second, a half-length behind Tribecca after a half-mile in :46.22.

Bavaro struck the front readily and opened up on the field, leading by three lengths in mid-stretch. Celtic Chaos rallied strongly into second without threatening Bavaro.

“He kind of missed the break a little bit, so I had to go to Plan B,” Alvarado said. “I let him settle in, put him on the outside, and then he pretty much took me all the way around.”

With nine victories, one second and a pair of thirds in 19 dirt starts, Bavaro has earned more than $310,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

KEM Stables’ three-year-old ridgling London House followed a spectacular 15 ¼-length maiden win on a sloppy track with an impressive score on a fast track Monday, dueling for the early lead, taking over and drawing away to a 5 ½-length victory in a six-furlong $64,000 New York-bred allowance/optional $75,000 claimer. Sent off at 3-1 odds in a field of eight, London House won in a final time of 1:12.44, giving Lezcano his third winner of the afternoon and trainer Steve Asmussen his second.

Rally Cap, part of a 4-1 entry under Dylan Davis, came in second, two lengths ahead of Kadens Courage, the 4-5 favorite ridden by Manny Franco from the outside post. Rally Cap’s entry-mate Trance and Eric Cancel finished fourth, a length and a half behind Kadens Courage.

Dr. Jerry Bilinski bred London House, a son of Honorable Dillon out of Nice Boots Baby by Storm Boot who sold for $110,000 as a two-year-old in May 2018. Lezcano was riding London House for the second time following his break-out maiden score on January 20th in London House’s third career start.

On Monday, Lezcano set up London House in second, on the outside of 61-1 Riken and Hector Diaz Jr.

London House was second by a head after a first quarter-mile in :22.67 before taking over as Rally Cap rallied into second through a :46.75 half-mile.

Then London House took off, opening up powerfully through the stretch to win his second straight impressively.

With two victories and a second in four career starts, London House has already earned more than $80,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Grand Crue Farm’s five-year-old mare Elegant Jem, sent off the 2-1 favorite from the outside post in a field of eight under Rajiv Maragh, took charge at the head of the stretch and went on to a 3 ½-length victory in a one-mile $64,000 New York-bred allowance/optional $25,000 claimer. Elegant Jem won in a final time of 1:41.15.

Cotton Candy Cutie, sent off at odds of 6-1 with Luis Reyes riding, took a bold run at Elegant Jem in mid-stretch but had to settle for second, six lengths clear of 6-1 Beyond Discreet and Hector Diaz Jr. There was a four-length gap back to Peaches and Spice, who was adding blinkers and went off at 33-1 odds under Carlos Hernandez, in fourth.

Spruce Lane Farm et al bred Elegant Jem, a daughter of Spring At Last out of Elegant Finish by Speightstown who is trained by Jeremiah Englehart. Elegant Jem finished a brave second by a head in her prior start under Maragh on January 20th, her fourth consecutive finish in the money.

Maragh kept her a clear three-wide third Monday as 11-1 Cirque and Pablo Fragoso set the pace while 7-2 My Girl Annie and Mike Luzzi chased in second through an opening quarter-mile in :23.36 and a half-mile in :47.91. Then Maragh gave Elegant Jem her cue and she rushed to the front, taking control after three-quarters of a mile in 1:14.33.

Cotton Candy Cutie, who had rallied into second, took a run at Elegant Jem, but she quickly repelled the challenge and drew off late.

Elegant Jem is now four-for-seven on dirt with one second and one third. She also has one second and one third from seven turf tries, for total earnings of more than $115,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

In Monday’s finale, a 6 ½-furlong $36,000 conditional $25,000 claimer, Eric Cancel made an aggressive mid-race move with Mendham Racing Stable’s four-year-old New York-bred filly Parlapiano, and she opened a six-length lead and cruised home to win by a length and a half. Sent off at 7-2 odds from the outside post in a field of seven, Parlapiano won in a final time of 1:21.83.

Another New York-bred, 17-1 gray Zacha and Hector Diaz Jr., rallied to finish second, 2 ½ lengths clear of Wisconsin Night, the gray 6-5 favorite ridden by five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez. Yet another New York-bred, 5-2 Party in the Sand and Manny Franco, checked in fourth.

Sandy Glenn Stables bred Parlapiano, a daughter of Stay Thirsty out of Alpha Charlie by Eddington who sold for $32,000 as a two-year-old in May 2017 and is trained by David Donk. Parlapiano finished second by a head under Cancel in her previous start on January 27th, also at 7-2 odds.

On Monday, Cancel got her away third and she sat well off the hot pace as Wisconsin Night had to work hard to make the early lead on the outside of 9-2 Hattie L and Jose Lezcano through a quick :22.79 opening quarter-mile. Wisconsin Night opened a 2 ½-length lead, but had to run a half-mile in :48.70 to do so. That’s when Cancel sent Parlapiano up to take on the front-runner. She zoomed past Wisconsin Night, opened a six-length cushion and eased home a handy winner.

Parlapiano is now two-for-12 with two seconds, three thirds and earnings of more than $90,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

ZBS Thoroughbreds’ homebred Rattle the Stars, co-owned by Toby Sheets and Paradise Farms Corp., rallied four-wide around the far turn under Jose Lezcano and out-finished odds-on Heartbustingirl to win Monday’s opener, a $35,000 New York-bred maiden claimer for three-year-old fillies, by two lengths. She covered the seven-furlong distance in 1:28.90. Rattle the Stars was sent off at odds of 6-1 and Heartbustingirl, who was adding blinkers, went off at 2-5 odds in the field of six under Manny Franco.

Heartbustingirl finished a clear second, 5 ½ lengths ahead of Analyze With Honor, who went off at 9-2 odds with five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez up. Star Sweep, sent off at 8-1 odds from the rail under Luis Reyes, reported home a distant fourth.

Steve Asmussen trains Rattle the Stars, a daughter of Haynesfield out of Star Orchid by Successful Appeal who finished fourth and seventh in her first two career starts.

Lezcano, who had won Sunday’s final two races, let Rattle the Stars settle in fifth as Heartbustingirl took the field to a first quarter-mile in :23.95 and a half-mile in :49.01. Then Lezcano sent Rattle the Stars four-wide on the far turn to bid for the lead.

Heartbustingirl still held the front as Rattle the Stars took second. Rattle the Stars maintained her momentum and blew past the favorite past mid-stretch to win going away.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Hector Diaz Jr. rallied co-owner/trainer Andrew Williams and Vito Cipriano’s idle five-year-old mare First Dawn to a half-length victory in a one-mile $33,000 New York-bred maiden $25,000 claimer Monday. Sent off at 5-1 odds in the field of eight, First Dawn won in a final time of 1:43.20.

My First Gal, the 7-5 favorite ridden by five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez, took a three-length lead in mid-stretch but had to settle for second, a half-length ahead of Wanna Be Regal, the 2-1 second choice ridden by Luis Reyes. There was a gap of 8 ¾ lengths to the 60-1 gray Youth Gone Wild and Christina Bonilla in fourth.

Windylea Farm bred First Dawn, a daughter of Frost Giant out of Country Again by Awesome Again who finished fourth under Harry Hernandez in her previous start on November 25th. Credit Williams for getting his mare ready for her first start in nearly three months.

Diaz, riding First Dawn for the first time, let her settle in sixth as the 9-2 gray Big Expense and Harry Hernandez nursed a narrow lead on My First Gal through an opening quarter-mile in :23.89 and a half-mile in :48.25.

My First Gal then took over and opened up that three-length cushion. But both Wanna Be Legal and First Dawn rallied, two- and three-wide, respectively. Wanna Be Legal couldn’t sustain her bid, but First Dawn kept gaining on the outside, collaring My First Gal in the final 200 yards.

First Dawn now has a win and a third in eight starts, for more than $25,000 in earnings.

 

Slow-Starting Honor Up Noses Syndergaard in the Haynesfield Stakes

Photo: Susie Raisher

In a remarkable performance under Jose Lezcano, Saratoga Seven Racing Partners’ four-year-old colt Honor Up scored his third consecutive victory, overcoming a slow start to edge Syndergaard and Rajiv Maragh by a fraction of a nose in a super edition of the $100,000 Haynesfield Stakes for New York-breds Sunday at Aqueduct. He completed the one-mile distance in 1:37.04. Honor Up was sent off at odds of 2-1 from the rail and Syndergaard went off at 5-2 odds in the accomplished field of six New York-breds, each with more than $180,000 in earnings.

Twisted Tom, also sent off at 2-1 odds with Junior Alvarado up, closed strongly from last to finish third, a length and a half behind Syndergaard. Fiery Opal, who went off at 19-1 odds under Edwin Rivera, finished fourth, 3 ¼ lengths behind Twisted Tom.

Gainesway Thoroughbreds bred Honor Up, a son of To Honor and Serve out of Unobstructed View by Yes It’s True who sold for $65,000 as a yearling at Saratoga in August 2016 and is trained by Michelle Nevin. Honor Up was stretching out from seven furlongs to eight off a neck victory under Manny Franco in the $100,000 Say Florida Sandy Stakes on January 12th. He had begun his winning streak on December 15th, when he won an open allowance under Harry Hernandez.

Honor Up couldn’t have started slower Sunday, spotting the field at least four lengths when he hesitated after the gates opened. Lezcano didn’t panic, getting him back into the race gradually.

The speedy Stoney Bennett, sent off at 7-2 odds from the outside post under Manny Franco, set the pace under pressure from Fiery Opal through a first quarter-mile in :23.45 and a half-mile in :46.11.

Honor Up had advanced into fourth by then, and he rushed up three-wide to engage the frontrunner, reaching even terms after three-quarters in a mile in 1:10.28. Then Honor Up cleared the lead and opened up two lengths on Syndergaard, who was full of run rallying from third.

Syndergaard closed quickly and crossed the finish line with Honor Up in almost perfect tandem, losing by a thin slice of a nose. The photo showed a finish incredibly close to a dead heat.

“That was just a tough way to lose,” Maragh said after his near miss. “That’s probably the closest of margins I’ve ever lost a race by.”

Nevin was thrilled with the victory: “He (Lezcano) did a hell of a job to keep going to get to the wire.” Asked about the close finish, she said, “I thought I was going to pass out. The other horse ran a hell of a race to keep coming. That was a close, close race. I thought it was a dead heat for a second.”

Honor Up is now five-for-13 on dirt with three seconds and one third. He also has one win from two turf attempts, for combined earnings of more than $330,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Repole Stable’s freshened homebred five-year-old horse Blewitt backed up his 2-5 odds under Manny Franco with a professional two-length victory in a $67,000 New York-bred allowance/optional $40,000 claimer Sunday. He completed the mile and an eighth in 1:52.57.

Blugrascat’s Smile, sent off at odds of 4-1 from the outside post in the field of five with Rajiv Maragh aboard, edged 7-2 front-running Carthon and Eric Cancel by a half-length for second. Local Counsel, who went off at 12-1 odds under Jose Lezcano, finished fourth, a neck behind Carthon.

Todd Pletcher trains Blewitt, a son of Uncle Mo out of Stopspendingmaria by Montbrook who hadn’t raced since December 23rd, when he finished second in an open allowance under Joel Rosario at Aqueduct.

Franco got him away third as Carthon took the field through early fractions of :23.12, :48.12 and 1:12.68.

Then Blewitt made his bid, collaring Carthon at the head of the stretch. Carthon was game, but Blewitt passed him before the sixteenth pole to take over. Blewitt opened a safe lead and maintained it to the wire.

Now with three victories and two seconds in six starts, Blewitt has earned more than $125,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Co-owner/trainer Bobby Barbara, Geannine Donlon, Charles Miceli, Christine Drossos and Herbert Herzog’s three-year-old gelding The Big Lebanese contested the early lead under Dylan Davis, took the front readily when asked and went on to a 2 ¾-length score in a $60,000 New York-bred maiden special weight, giving Davis his second victory of the day Sunday. Sent off the 2-1 co-favorite in a field of nine, The Big Lebanese completed the six-furlong distance in 1:13.03.

First-time-starting gray Preston Court, who went off at 7-1 odds under Mike Luzzi, finished second, one length ahead of 3-1 Top of the Mint and five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez. There was a length and a quarter back to 73-1 Gongheifatchoy and Talbert Howell in fourth.

Fedwell Farm bred The Big Lebanese, a son of Soaring Empire out of Salty Little Sis by Chief Seattle who finished second in his first two starts by a neck and by 11 ¼ lengths, both under Davis.

Davis got The Big Lebanese out of the gate quickly and he immediately hooked up on the front end with Five Night Freddie, who was adding Lasix and went off at 17-1 odds from the rail under Luis Reyes. The Big Lebanese nursed a narrow lead on the outside of Five Night Freddie through a first quarter-mile in :22.87 and a half-mile in :46.84.

Then Davis asked The Big Lebanese for more, and he put away Five Night Freddie and opened a four-length lead. He cruised home a handy winner.

With one victory and a pair of seconds in his first three starts, The Big Lebanese has earned $57,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Bet down to even money in his debut, co-owner/trainer Paul Barrow and Henry Steadman’s colt Saratoga Promise gamely held off the gray I Saw It All by a neck to win Sunday’s finale, a six-furlong $60,000 New York-bred maiden special weight for three-year-olds, giving his jockey Jose Lezcano a sweep of the late double. I Saw It All was sent off at odds of 9-1 in the field of 10 with Junior Alvarado riding.

True Blue Giant, who went off at 3-1 odds from the rail under Manny Franco, finished third, three lengths behind I Saw It All while 2 ¼ lengths ahead of 10-1 Big Paddy Brown and seven-pound apprentice Benjamin Hernandez.

Sequel Thoroughbreds bred Saratoga Promise, a son of Violence out of Paper Kite by Bernardini who sold for $35,000 as a two-year-old in May 2018. Saratoga Promise had 10 sharp works for his debut, including three bullets.

Saratoga Promise raced three-wide in third early on the outside of Big Paddy Brown and Bobby Man, sent off at 5-1 odds under Dylan Davis.

The trio were heads apart through an opening quarter-mile in :23.18. Saratoga Promise then made the front, hitting the half-mile in :47.23 as I Saw It All rallied into second. The two separated themselves from the others, with Saratoga Promise determinedly keeping his head in front all the way to the wire.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Getting up in the final stride under Junior Alvarado, Steinmetz Equine Holdings’ idle homebred colt Thesis, co-owned by Bernardo Mongil III and co-bred by Monhill Farm, nosed D Emcee and Dylan Davis in a $50,000 New York-bred $32,000 claimer for three-year-olds Sunday. He completed the seven-furlong distance in 1:26.25. A claim of foul against the winner by D Emcee’s trainer Edward Barker was not allowed by the stewards.

Thesis, who was adding blinkers, was sent off at odds of 9-2 and D Emcee was the 2-1 favorite in the field of seven.

Mend Up, sent off at 4-1 odds under seven-pound apprentice Benjamin Hernandez, finished third, a length and a half behind D Emcee while six lengths clear of 6-1 Power Source and Luis Reyes.

David Duggan trains Thesis, a son of Paddy O’ Prado out of Paper Cut by Notebook who hadn’t raced since November 14th, when he won a New York-bred maiden special weight at Finger Lakes by two lengths.

Alvarado settled Thesis in fourth as Power Source took the field to an opening quarter-mile in :22.55 and a half-mile in :46.60.

Then both Thesis and D Emcee rallied in tight quarters, shoulder to shoulder. Both horses cleared the others and continued their head-to-head struggle all the way to the wire, finishing in tandem in a photo too tight to call. The camera revealed that Thesis had barely won.

With two wins in three career starts, Thesis has earned more than $40,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

In a thrilling stretch duel, Hector Diaz got co-owner/trainer Rudy Rodriguez and EV Racing Stable’s four-year-old New York-bred gray gelding Rogue Nation up by a head over front-running New York-bred longshot Special Story and five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez in a $37,000 conditional $25,000 claimer. He completed the one-mile distance in 1:37.46. Rogue Nation was sent off at odds of 2-1 and Special Story went off at 16-1 odds in the field of six.

American Lincoln, also sent off at 2-1 odds under Manny Franco, finished third, a length and a quarter behind Special Story while a length and a quarter ahead of 6-1 New York-bred Dooley and Eric Cancel.

Thomas/Burleson bred Rogue Nation, a son of Mission Impazible out of Glitzy Girl by Touch Gold whom Rodriguez and EV Racing Stable claimed for $40,000 in his career debut when he finished sixth at Saratoga last August 4th. Rogue Nation posted two straight victories followed by second- and third-place finishes in his first four starts for his current connections.

Special Story broke on top Sunday and Diaz positioned Rogue Nation right behind him on the rail in second, a length ahead of American Lincoln in third. Special Story led by one length through a first quarter-mile in :23.71 and a half-mile in :47.37.

Then both Rogue Nation two-wide and American Lincoln three-wide made their bids for the lead. Special Story, however, still had a narrow lead after three-quarters in 1:11.58. Rogue Nation drew within a head of the front-runner while American Lincoln couldn’t quite keep up late.

Special Story didn’t give an inch, but Rogue Nation wore him down to get the hard-earned victory.

Rogue Nation is now three-for-six with one second, one third and earnings of more than $70,000.

 

Idle Holiday Disguise Returns in Style to Win the Broadway Saturday

Photo: Susie Raisher

Lady Sheila Stable’s idle five-year-old New York-bred Holiday Disguise made her first start since October a memorable one, rallying under Jose Lezcano to win Saturday’s six-furlong $100,000 Broadway Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares by 4 ¼ lengths at Aqueduct. Sent off at 9-2 odds in an accomplished field of eight – each one with six figures in career earnings – Holiday Disguise won in a final time of 1:11.13.

Pauseforthecause, the 4-5 favorite ridden by Rajiv Maragh, finished second, 2 ¼ lengths clear of 15-1 Palladian Bridge and Sheldon Russell. Front-running Absatootly, who was adding blinkers and went off at 18-1 odds under Reylu Gutierrez, riding without his five-pound apprentice allowance, finished fourth, another half-length back while a nose ahead of the 9-2 gray Startwithsilver and Dylan Davis in fifth.

Dr. William Wilmot and Dr. Joan Taylor bred Holiday Disguise, a daughter of Harlan’s Holiday out of Thin Disguise by Yes It’s True who is trained by Linda Rice. Holiday Disguise hadn’t raced since New York-bred Showcase Day last October 20th, when she finished sixth under Joel Rosario in the $156,000 Iroquois Stakes. Credit Rice with a superb job getting her mare, who won a stakes race last year off an 8 ½-month layoff, sharp for her first start in four months.

“She worked in Miami in :59 and change on the turf, so I knew she was pretty far along, and then I breezed her twice when I got her back to New York and pointed her to this race,” Rice said.

Holiday Disguise broke last and was still last as Absatootly led 5-1 Filibustin and Chris DeCarlo by a head after a :22.31 first quarter-mile. Absatootly then shook loose on the lead as Lezcano rallied Holiday Disguise inside and then between horses into fifth before angling her to the far outside.

Absatootly had a two-length lead after a half-mile in :45.90 as Pauseforthecause rallied from third into second and Holiday Disguise gained on the far outside.

Pauseforthecause struck the lead, but it was short-lived as Holiday Disguise kicked in and roared past her in mid-stretch. Holiday Disguise then drew away impressively to win by herself.

“When I asked her, she kicked very good,” Lezcano said after winning his second race of the day. “My filly can really finish.”

Holiday Disguise is now seven-for-13 with one second, two thirds and earnings topping $550,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Chester and Mary Broman’s incredibly consistent homebred four-year-old filly Out of Orbit made it look easy under Eric Cancel on Saturday. Cancel rushed Out of Orbit to the early lead and she won a seven-furlong $67,000 New York-bred allowance by a length and a quarter. Sent off at even money from the rail in a field of five, Out of Orbit won in a final time of 1:24.98.

Aunt Babe, sent off at 17-1 odds with Samuel Camacho Jr. in the saddle, closed strongly to finish second, 8 ¼ lengths clear of Starlite Mission, who was adding blinkers and went off at 7-1 odds under five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez. My Roxy Girl, who was sent off at odds of 7-2 under Rajiv Maragh, finished another head back in fourth.

Phil Serpe trains Out of Orbit, a daughter of Malibu Moon out of Kibosh by Discreet Cat who finished second in her last start, the ninth time she finished in the money in her last 10 starts. And her only miss was a fourth.

She broke fourth Saturday, but Cancel hustled her to the lead. She was two lengths in front after an opening quarter-mile in :23.18. After hitting the half-mile in :47.26, she extended her lead to three lengths. Aunt Babe came charging at her late, but it was too late as Out of Orbit had more than enough left to win.

Out of Orbit improved her stellar dirt record to three-for-14 with five seconds and three thirds. She has also raced twice on grass and has combined earnings of more than $220,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

In a jaw-dropping performance under Jose Lezcano, Kennesaw Mountain Racing’s Cheatham Hill nursed a narrow lead for a half-mile and then took off, capturing a one-mile $60,000 New York-bred maiden special weight for three-year-old fillies by 12 ¾ lengths despite being taken in hand late. Sent off at 2-1 odds from the rail in a field of eight, Cheatham Hill won in a final time of 1:40.78.

The gray Becca Takes Charge, the slight 9-5 favorite from the outside post under five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez, finished second, a neck ahead of 8-1 first-time starter Champayne and Eric Cancel. Cornetta’s Choice, sent off at odds of 8-1 with Dylan Davis riding, reported home a distant fourth.

J.D. Stuart, P.C. Bance and A R Enterprises bred Cheatham Hill, a daughter of Bellamy Road out of Sweet N Sour Nina by Sweetsouthernsaint who sold for $32,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2017 and is trained by Jason Servis. Cheatham Hill was making just her third career start after finishing second under Eric Cancel and fourth under Lezcano.

She broke third but rushed up on the rail to take a head lead on Becca Takes Charge through a :24.40 first quarter-mile. She maintained that slim margin through a half-mile in :49.02 and then began to edge away. She hit three-quarters of a mile in 1:15.20 and then found another gear, spurting away impressively to up her earnings to $49,000 in just three starts.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

PT and K Stable’s four-year-old filly Thread the Needle, returning to New York off a nose loss in an open maiden special weight at Laurel Park, overhauled front-running Tales of Royalty and drew away late under Grant Whitacre to win Saturday’s opener, a $60,000 New York-bred maiden special weight, by 5 ¼ lengths. Thread the Needle, the even-money favorite in the field of six, completed the seven-furlong distance in 1:26.64.

The gray Anne’s Song, the 2-1 second choice ridden by Eric Cancel, rallied to finish second, 7 ¾ lengths ahead of the gray Finlee, who was sent off at odds of 26-1 under Hector Diaz Jr. Yet another gray, 5-2 Bourbon High and Samuel Jiminez, finished a distant fourth.

James Lamonica, Lee Sacks and Soave Stables bred Thread the Needle, a daughter of Tale of the Cat out of Nick’s Honor by Jump Start who sold for $230,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2016 and is trained by Ollie Figgins III.

Whitacre, Thread the Needle’s rider in her start at Laurel, got her away in mid-pack Saturday as Tales of Royalty, who was adding Lasix and went off at 12-1 odds under five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez, took the field to an opening quarter-mile in :23.29 and a half-mile in :47.58.

By then, Thread the Needle was rallying strongly on the outside. Thread the Needle powered past Tales of Royalty and opened up on the field, winning easily despite being taken in hand late.

Thread the Needle is now one-for-six on dirt with two seconds and one third. He also finished second in his debut on turf and has total earnings of more than $75,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Owner/trainer Leah Gyarmati’s four-year-old New York-bred colt Beach Access wore down front-running New York-bred Rockin Jo to capture a one-mile $28,000 conditional $16,000 claimer by a half-length under Rajiv Maragh on Saturday. Sent off at 8-1 odds from the 11 post in a field of 12, Beach Access won in a final time of 1:39.46.

Rockin Jo, who went off at odds of 7-1 under Harry Hernandez, salvaged second, one length ahead of New York-bred Bigsouljoel, sent off at 17-1 odds under seven-pound apprentice Benjamin Hernandez. Yet another state-bred, 5-1 New York-bred Latin Love Bug, finished fourth, another three-quarters of a length back in fourth.

Farish, Hudson & Kilroy bred Beach Access, a son of Courageous Cat out of Island Beat by Pleasantly Perfect who was dropping into an open claimer off a sixth-place finish in a New York-bred allowance on December 20th.

Maragh got Beach Access away in second as Rockin Jo led by one to two lengths through splits of :23.74, :47.27 and 1:12.83. Maragh sent Beach Access through on Rockin Jo’s inside and he surged by him past the sixteenth pole.

Beach Access improved his dirt record to two-for-11 with one second, two thirds and earnings of more than $65,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Flawlessly ridden by seven-pound apprentice Joey Martinez, J and M Racing Stable’s six-year-old homebred, the New York-bred gelding Samadi Sky, co-owned by David Samadi and Eleven Stars Racing Stables, rallied gamely between horses to win a six-furlong $16,000 open $8,000 claimer by a neck Saturday. Dispatched at 11-1 odds from the two post in a field of seven, Samadi Sky won in a final time of 1:11.52.

Front-running and utterly tenacious Imasuperstar, sent off at odds of 4-1 from the rail under five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez, finished second, a head in front of Spartiatis, the 2-5 favorite ridden by Hector Diaz. New York-bred The Great Samurai, who went off at 7-1 odds with Rajiv Maragh riding, finished fourth, five lengths behind Spartiatis.

Edward Barker trains Samadi Sky, a son of Sky Mesa out of Mac Lady by Abaginone who was dropping off a seventh-place finish in a $12,500 claimer under Martinez on January 19th.

Samadi Sky got away second as Imasuperstar used the rail to his advantage, immediately taking the lead. Imasuperstar zoomed through an opening quarter-mile in :22.99, then stretched his two-length lead to four lengths.

Samadi Sky closed that gap, drawing within one length after a half-mile in :46.47, then took on the frontrunner as Spartiatis joined them three-wide. The three horses battled head-to-head for the final sixteenth of a mile, with Samadi Sky getting up just in time.

Samadi Sky is now four-for-23 on dirt with three seconds and a pair of thirds. He also has one second and a pair of thirds from six turf tries, for combined earnings of more than $200,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Danny Chen’s colt Better Bank On It survived an early speed duel, opened a four-length lead and then held on under Dylan Davis to win Saturday’s finale, a one-mile $35,000 New York-bred maiden $30,000 claimer for three-year-olds, by a length and three-quarters. Sent off the 2-1 favorite in a field of 11, Better Bank On It won in a final time of 1:41.24, giving trainer Edward Barker his second win of the day.

Dash for Dollars, sent off at odds of 16-1 from the rail under Harry Hernandez, finished second, 8 ¼ lengths clear of Icey Cash, who was adding blinkers and went off at 45-1 odds under Mike Luzzi from the extreme outside post. Everything Pazible, who went off at 9-1 odds under Chris DeCarlo, finished a distant fourth.

Klaravich Stable bred Better Bank On it, a son of Central Banker out of Debase the Dollar by Malibu Moon who finished third in his prior start on January 25th with Davis aboard for the first time.

Better Bank On It hooked up immediately with 8-1 Simbasalltrouble and Hector Diaz Jr. They exchanged a narrow lead through an opening quarter-mile in :23.80 and a half-mile in :47.65.

Better Bank On It put away his challenger and opened a four-length cushion after three-quarters of a mile in 1:13.88. He cruised home as Dash for Dollars made a strong finish to grab the runner-up spot.

Better Bank On It is now one-for-six on dirt with one second, one third and earnings of more than $35,000.

 

Dirty Bird Finds Room and Rallies to Win on Friday

Photo: Adam Coglianese

Jockey Junior Alvarado had to work to score his second consecutive victory in Friday’s third race at Aqueduct. He idled on the inside with Rising Graph Stable’s homebred Dirty Bird before finally finding room to angle her to the outside. She made up a two-length deficit to beat Bee’snbee’s and Manny Franco by one length in a one-mile $50,000 New York-bred $32,000 claimer for three-year-old fillies in a final time of 1:40.90. Dirty Bird was sent off at odds of 7-2 from the rail and Bee’snbee’s went off at 5-2 odds from the outside post in a field of five.

Saratoga Style, who went off at 3-1 odds under five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez, finished third, two lengths behind Bee’snbee’s while two lengths ahead of Ma Meatloaf, the 6-5 favorite ridden by Rajiv Maragh, in fourth.

Jeremiah Englehart trains Dirty Bird, a daughter of Frost Giant out of Sister City by Good and Tough who was taking a substantial drop off a distant sixth-place finish under Alvarado in a New York-bred allowance/optional $75,000 claimer at 20-1 odds on January 26th.

Dirty Bird was last most of the way Friday as 14-1 gray Gypsy Mama and Luis Reyes led Bee’snbee’s by a half-length to three-quarters of a length through an opening quarter-mile in :23.94 and a half-mile in :47.13.

Bee’snbee’s drew within a head of the front-runner after three-quarters of a mile in 1:13.73. Alvarado had Dirty Bird ready to fire, but he had to wait for an opening. When he saw one, he angled Dirty Bird out three-wide.

Bee’snbee’s had a two-length lead to work with, but Dirty Bird closed strongly and went right on by in the final 200 yards.

Dirty Bird is now two-for-five with more than $50,000 in earnings.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Robert Bone’s four-year-old New York-bred filly Promise Me Roses collared favored New York-bred Simona in deep stretch to win her second straight race, a six-furlong $28,000 conditional $16,000 claimer, by one length in a final time of 1:12.30, giving jockey Junior Alvarado his third winner from three mounts through Friday’s fifth race. Promise Me Roses was sent off at odds of 9-1 and Simona went off at 6-5 odds under Manny Franco in the field of eight.

Jacqueline D, who went off at 39-1 odds with Harry Hernandez aboard, made it a New York-bred triple, finishing third, 5 ¾ lengths behind Simona.

Blue Devil Racing Stable bred Promise Me Roses, a daughter of Lemon Drop Kid out of Promise Me a Cat by D’Wildcat who is trained by Rob Atras. Promise Me Roses was stepping up to open winning claimers off a 2 ¼-length victory under Manny Franco in a New York-bred maiden $25,000 claimer on January 26th.

Alvarado let Promise Me Roses linger in seventh as 96-1 Ocean Conquest and Dalton Brown set the pace: a first quarter-mile in :22.72 and a half-mile in :46.84.

Then Simona, who had been racing a three-wide third, took over as Promise Me Roses continued a rally on the far outside. Simona opened a clear lead inside the sixteenth pole, but Promise Me Roses wore her down late to score.

Promise Me Roses is now two-for-10 with two seconds and earnings topping $60,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

In Friday’s finale, another six-furlong $28,000 conditional $16,000 claimer, Bond Racing Stable’s five-year-old New York-bred mare Magari, trained by Jim Bond, shot past heavily favored Ouro Verde to win by a length and a quarter, giving jockey Junior Alvarado his fourth winner of the afternoon from just five mounts. Magari was sent off at 3-1 odds and Ouro Verde was the even-money favorite under five-pound Reylu Gutierrez in a field of eight.

New York-bred gray Dancingwthdaffodls, who went off at odds of 9-2 from the rail with Dylan Davis up, finished third, a length and a half behind Ouro Verde while a neck in front of 5-1 New York-bred Tequila Sunday and Manny Franco.

Song Hill Thoroughbreds bred Magari, a daughter of Tizway out of Shock It by Double Negative who had finished fourth in her last two starts.

Magari was sixth early as Ouro Verde and 15-1 New York-bred Climb the Ladder, ridden by seven-pound apprentice Benjamin Hernandez, dueled on the front end through an opening quarter-mile in :23.06.

Ouro Verde took over as Magari arrived on the scene on the far outside. Magari maintained her momentum and wore down the favorite, winning comfortably.

Magari is now two-for-nine with one second, one third and earnings of more than $50,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Robert Valeri’s homebred New York-bred Big Brown Cat broke on top and never looked back, cruising to a 4 ¾-length victory in a 5 ½-furlong $35,000 maiden $30,000 claimer for three-year-old fillies, giving five-pound apprentice Reylu Gutierrez his second winner of the day Friday. Sent off at 5-2 odds as the lone state-bred in a field of seven, Big Brown Cat won in a final time of 1:06.50.

Karabessa, who went off at odds of 8-1 under Luis Rodriguez Castro, edged It’s a Shaw Thing, the 6-5 favorite adding Lasix with Dylan Davis up, by a neck for second.

Gary Gullo trains Big Brown Cat, a daughter of Big Brown out of Cat Ferrad by Stormy Atlantic who finished a front-running badly tiring fourth in a New York-bred maiden $30,000 claimer at 11-1 odds in her prior start on January 20th under seven-pound apprentice Benjamin Hernandez.

Gutierrez got her out of the gate quickly Friday and she beat It’s a Shaw Thing to the early lead. She was two lengths in front after a first quarter-mile in a quick :22.43. It’s a Shaw Thing drew within one length at the top of the stretch, but Big Brown Cat spurted away quickly, widening her lead through the stretch.

Big Brown Cat is now one-for-six on dirt with one third and earnings of more than $30,000.

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Photo: Adam Coglianese

Midwest Thoroughbreds’ five-year-old gelding There He Goes, sent off the 4-5 favorite under Junior Alvarado in a field of seven, toyed with his opponents Friday, scoring wire-to-wire by 9 ¼ lengths despite being geared-down late in a $33,000 New York-bred maiden $30,000 claimer. He completed the one-mile distance in 1:38.45.

Clonedsimmard, sent off at odds of 47-1 under Samuel Jiminez, finished second, a half-length ahead of 10-1 Blue Skies Forever and Samuel Camacho Jr. Run for Boston, the 2-1 second choice on the rail under Manny Franco, checked in a distant fourth.

Dr. David Leroy Smart and Garry Lee bred There He Goes, a son of Here Comes Ben out of Smartlee Away by Skip Away who sold for $175,000 as a yearling at Saratoga in August 2015 and is trained by Danny Gargan. There He Goes finished second by 4 ¾ lengths at 5-2 odds under Rajiv Maragh in his previous start on January 18th.

Alvarado got There He Goes away sharply from the five post, and he took a half-length lead on the outside of 62-1 Martini Lane and Carlos Hernandez through a :24.01 opening quarter-mile. There He Goes maintained that advantage through a half-mile in :47.94.

Then Alvarado let There He Goes loose and he kissed the competition goodbye, opening up powerfully before being taken in hand in deep stretch.

There He Goes is now one-for-seven on dirt with three seconds. He also has one second from five turf tries, for total earnings of more than $50,000.

4 thoughts on “Bill Heller’s New York-Breds at the Races: February 15 to 18

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