Jockey Eric Cancel registered three wins while trainer Rudy Rodriguez saddled a pair of winners to highlight the New York Racing Association's Claiming Championship series on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Claiming Championship, open to horses who have started for a claiming price in 2018 or 2019, featured 10 stakes worth $620,000, with races contested at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 3/8 miles.
Cancel was one of three jockeys to pilot multiple winners on Saturday, joining Dylan Davis and Jose Lezcano, who each rode two. Rodriguez was the only conditioner with multiple wins.
“We're here to support New York Racing and this is a good day for us,” Rodriguez said. “To win two races, it makes it more fun for us, that's for sure.”
Not About the Nail kicked off the card's action with an impressive seven-length victory for owner Danny Chen and trainer Eddie Barker in the $45,000 Belle Gallantey for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up.
Breaking from the rail with Samuel Camacho, Jr. aboard, Not About the Nail sat off the pace early in fourth position, tracking front-runner To the Flag, who went the opening quarter-mile in 23.38 seconds and the half in 46.71 on the fast main track.
Tipped out to the four-path at the top of the stretch, Not About the Nail moved past the leader and drew away from the field, completing the seven-furlong distance in a final time of 1:26.76 and returning $7.10 for a $2 win wager. Completing the order of finish was Hashtag Selfie, Flashndynamite, To the Flag and Ola Gatita. Stella B. was scratched.
Not About the Nail is a Silver member of the NYRA Starter Loyalty Program.
In the $55,000 Videogenic for older fillies and mares, Archumybaby closed with a flurry under Cancel to best 4-5 post-time favorite Summer Punch by a head at the wire.
Archumybaby, a Diamond member, made his first start for winning connections Prestine Racing and trainer Gay Gullo. The 5-year-old son of Archarcharch paid $16 for a $2 win bet.
Following runner-up Summer Punch were Bow Town Cat, Miss Jak, Timely Tradition, and Stars Wilburn. Elizabeth Nicole was scratched.
Its All Relevant did not disappoint his backers in Race 3 the $45,00 Dads Caps. Sent off as the 1-5 post-time favorite, the 6-year-old Hard Spun gelding took command in the upper stretch separating himself from the rest of the field to win by 5 ½ lengths, completing seven furlongs in 1:23.06 with Davis aboard.
Its All Relevant, a Gold member, returned $2.40. The victory was Its All Relevant's third consecutive overall and first under Rodriguez, his new owner and trainer.
Orpheus finished in second, followed by Big Thicket, Samadi Sky, Hamptons Holiday, Watch My Dust and Colonel Canuck. Whateveryouwant and Runabout were scratched.
Empire State Thoroughbreds' Bon Raison stayed off a fast early pace and surged in the stretch to win the $70,000 Peeping Tom at 6 ½ furlongs in Race 4. Under Cancel, who earned his second win on the day, Bon Raison was put in third position as Aristocratic went the opening quarter-mile in 22.78 and the half in 45.26.
Bon Raison, a Platinum Starter Loyalty Program member, took command from the outside and drew away for a four-length win over Lazarus Project, hitting the wire in 1:18.53. The Carlos Martin trainee returned $3.20.
“We were hoping we would get that kind of trip,” Martin said. “The horse on the inside has a lot of speed. We were hoping we would break and sit off him. For a little while, it got a little scary. I thought that horse might keep going. But Eric [Cancel] rode with a lot of confidence. He's been running with some really tough horses. Not to disparage the other horses in the race, but this was a step down for him, so we we're confident he'd be tough.”
Aristocratic, Manifest Destiny, Deep Sea and Format Start completed the order of finish. Win With Pride and I'm an Ocala Dude were scratched.
Drawing Away Stable's Daria's Angel posted another impressive effort, outkicking Miss Loyalty by 4 ½ lengths to win the $60,000 Sis City for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up in Race 5.
Trained by Rob Atras, Daria's Angel won for the fourth time in her last six starts. The 5-year-old Gemologist mare completed the one-turn mile in 1:39.92 and has finished first or second in her last seven starts.
Daria's Angel, a Diamond member, was ridden by Junior Alvarado and paid $5.60. Following Miss Loyalty was Sarah's Treasure, Dancingwthdaffodls, Elegant Jem, Honey Graeme, Overheated and Mia Bella Rossa. NYRA announcer Anthony Stabile called his first career stakes race in the effort.
In Race 6, M and A Racing's H Man split Malibu Action and Professor Snape in deep stretch and completed six furlongs in 1:12.12 in posting a 1 3/4-length victory in the $55,000 Kelly Kip. Trained by Jason Servis, H Man won for the second time in three starts, with the Diamond member returning $8.80. Both of the wins in that stretch have been under Lezcano.
Malibu Action edged fellow Gold member Sol the Freud by 1 3/4 lengths for second. Missle Bomb, O Shea Can U See, Professor Snape, Two Putt, Will Did It and Trusting Friend completed the order of finish.
Cancel picked up his third win when No Deal won by three-quarters of a length over New York-bred Hay Field in the $75,000 Xtra Heat for older fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs.
No Deal, owned by Chester and Mary Broman, had finished second in her last two starts but picked up her third win in her last five races overall, fending off a challenge from Hay Field and Clairvoyant Lady with a final time of 1:20.17.
The 4-year-old Special Rate filly, a Diamond member, improved to 3-3-0 in seven starts at Aqueduct. The 2-1 favorite paid $6.80.
Hay Field bested Claivoyant Lady by a neck for second. Gypsy Janie, Lady by Choice and Wildcat Belle completed the order of finish. Mo Flash and Oxhilirating were scratched.
Lamarca Stable's Potomac ran down Haul Anchor in deep stretch and took the lead in the final jumps, winning the $60,000 More To Tell for 4-year-olds and up by a head in Race 8.
Potomac, a 4-year-old Speightstown colt who is also a Platinum member, won for the first time since September. By completing one mile in 1:37.57, he won for the first time under Rodriguez. He paid $15.40.
Lezcano, bidding for his second win on the day, urged Potomac, who was all-out in the stretch in making up ground to Gold member Haul Anchor from the outside, running neck-and-neck before winning a photo finish.
Felix in Fabula, Daddy D T, Candy Promises, King Koa, No Distortion, Dattt Melody and Fiery Opal completed the order of finish. Vicar's Legend and Holy Week were scratched.
Long-time NYRA fixture Turco Bravo won his second race of the year, with the Woodland Farms' Chilean bred winning the day's longest race in the $75,000 Stud Muffin at1 3/8 miles in Race 9.
The Mertkan Kantarmaci trainee, making his 77th career start, stayed just off the speed on the backstretch before taking command heading into the stretch under Davis. Cause I'm Alex made a late bid in deep stretch from the outside, but Turco Bravo won by a length with a final time of 2:23.33. It was the second win of the day for Davis.
Off at 5-2, Turco Bravo, a Platinum member, paid $7.50. Colonel Juan finished 3 ½ lengths ahead of Shalako for third. Ro Bear, Devine Dental, Broadway Bay Dynamax Prime rounded out the order of finish.
In the 10th-race finale Joseph Besecker's Mr. Brix surged from the inside, overtook Sudden Surprise and held off 8-5 favorite Mr. Dougie Fresh to win the $80,000 Caixa Eletronica for 4-year-olds and up at seven furlongs.
Off at 9-1, Mr. Brix returned $21.80. The 5-year-old Flatter gelding won his second consecutive start for trainer Claudio Gonzalez, with Kendrick Carmouche earning his first win of the day by guiding him to a 1 ½-length win in front of Mr. Dougie Fresh in a final time of 1:24.32.
“Mr. Gonzalez wanted me to get outside with this horse because he thinks he runs better outside,” Carmouche said. “But I had such a good position going down the backside, I just wanted to sit on the rail. The rail wasn't good all day, but then it got cold throughout the day. I got lucky, got through the rail and won the race.”
Hoffenheim, American Power, Rockinn On Bye, Sudden Surprise, Still Krz, G Zap, Candid Desire and Bavaro completed the order of finish.
Live racing will resume with Sunday's 9-race card with a 1:30 p.m. Eastern first post. The $100,000 Maddie May for state-bred 3-year-old fillies is slated for Race 8 at 5:21 p.m.
Sunday will also feature a Pick 6 carryover of $15,206.29. The Pick 6 will start with Race 4 at 3:15 p.m.
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