Jerold Zaro's homebred Blindwillie McTell turned back all comers with a scintillating performance to graduate while making his stakes debut in the $150,000 New York Stallion Series Great White Way division for juveniles on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Linda Rice, the bay son of Posse arrived at the six-furlong sprint over a sloppy Big A main track from a good second on debut to next-out winner Le General.
With Dylan Davis taking over from Jose Ortiz for the talented bay's return engagement, Blindwillie McTell blasted out of the gate and was challenged for the early lead by mutuel favorite Kosciuszko, who marked the opening quarter in a swift 22.70 seconds.
A stubborn Blindwillie McTell battled back and notched the half-mile in 46.79 as a host of would-be challengers lined up through the turn including the wide-traveling Thorny Tale and a ground-saving Kadens Courage.
Thorny Tale, game and determined under Eric Cancel, loomed large while racing seven-wide turning for home but Blindwillie McTell continued to find more and improved on his lead to win by 2 1/2-lengths in a final running time of 1:11.80.
Thorny Tale stayed on for second money, 2 3/4 lengths in front of Kadens Courage. Invaluable Will, Riken, Kosciuszko, Lost in Manhattan, Bustin Hoffman, Bebe Banker, Dark Money and Chicken Valley Rd completed the order of finish. Cartwheelin Lulu, who finished third in Saturday's Fifth Avenue, was scratched.
Davis was keen to make the lead with the young gelding who was competing on a sloppy track for the first time.
“Most importantly, I wanted to break sharp and this horse knew what he needed to do coming out of the gate. We got great position and he was carrying me nicely into the turn,” said Davis. “He wasn't really bothered by the early pressure, but once I asked him, he went on and really handled the sloppy track well.”
Rice confirmed that the game plan was executed to perfection by the journeyman rider.
“I told Dylan we had a big field here in the slop, so I wanted him to hustle him out of there,” said Rice. “He broke so sharp, he ended up on top and he went with it. It turned out well.
“Going forward, I think he can get a mile,” she continued. “We'll see how he comes out of this win, but we'll keep that stakes [$100,000 Damon Runyon, December 31] in consideration going forward.”
Blindwillie McTell banked $82,500 in victory while improving his record to a win and a second from two starts. He paid $7.50.
Live racing continues on Thursday at the Big A with an 8-race card featuring a triple Pick 6 carryover of $175,909 starting in Race 3. First post time is 12:50 p.m. ET.
Every day during the month of December, NYRA Bets members who place wagers on Aqueduct will receive a three percent rebate. For more information on the NYRA Bets December three percent bonus, visit NYRABets.com.
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