DutchessViews Farm's Big Q, expertly handled by Jose Lezcano, picked up her first stakes score in Saturday's $100,000 Key Cents, a six-furlong sprint for New York-bred juvenile fillies at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Gary Gullo, the Big Brown bay was making her third consecutive stakes start following a pair of fifth-place efforts in the Grade 2 Adirondack and Seeking the Ante at Saratoga Race Course.
Graded-stakes placed Time Limit, with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano up, broke well and set a swift opening quarter-mile in 22.91 seconds under pressure from All Over the Map. Big Q, leaving from the outside post in a field of seven, advanced into the turn to challenge Time Limit with Playtone, the 2-1 mutuel favorite, moving with conviction inside of Single Verse to take third position through a half-mile in 46.97 on the fast main track.
Big Q took command as the field straightened away and drew off comfortably for a five-length score in a final time of 1:12.22 as Playtone grinded past Time Limit to complete the exacta.
Rounding out the order of finish were Shadolamo, Single Verse, and My Sassy Sarah. All Over the Map was pulled up at the wire.
Lezcano said Big Q, racing fresh from an outside post, was much sharper than her previous effort in the Seeking the Ante.
“She was real active. Last time, she was inside and got bumped a couple of times,” said Lezcano. “Today, she was more comfortable in the bridle the whole way. She really kicked on to win the race. She was in the clear and when I asked, she finished strong. She can do more. She's a nice filly and she always tries.”
Big Q graduated on debut when a half-length the best in a 5 ½-furlong state-bred maiden event on July 11 at the Spa. The talented bay was freshened following her off-the-board stakes efforts and Gullo said his filly was better for the time off.
“I thought we were going to sit back and make up ground, but she's sharp,” said Gullo. “We freshened her up and had her ready. It was a pretty good race.”
Gullo said he will point Big Q to the $500,000 Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, set for December 15 at the Big A.
“The good thing is that she's a stallion stakes horse and there's a $500,000 race coming up going seven-eighths, which I think she'll handle,” said Gullo.
Big Q, bred by Golden Goose Enterprises, banked $55,000 in victory, while improving her record to two wins from four starts. She paid $20.80 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at Aqueduct with a 10-race card highlighted by the $100,000 Notebook in Race 9. First post is 12 p.m. Eastern.
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