Jerold Zaro's homebred Blindwillie McTell, in perfect harmony with Dylan Davis, held off a determined Kadens Courage to capture his second straight stakes win in Sunday's $100,000 Rego Park at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Conditioned by Aqueduct winter meet leading trainer Linda Rice, Blindwillie McTell arrived at the 6 1/2-furlong sprint for New York-bred sophomores from a convincing 2 1/2-length score on December 16 in the New York Stallion Series Great White Way.
A contentious Rego Park opening quarter saw Funny Guy, Blindwillie McTell, who stumbled at the break, and Bydawnsearlylight tussle for the lead, with the latter a head in front through 22.63 seconds on the fast main track.
Blindwillie McTell battled his way to the lead between rivals to mark the half in 46.28 as Bydawnsearlylight faded and Kadens Courage, sitting in fourth position behind a wall of pace challengers under Manny Franco, waited for racing room.
Blindwillie McTell continued to hum around the turn, putting away all challengers through three-quarters in 1:12.01, and had plenty in reserve to fend off the late rush of Kadens Courage to win by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 1:18.99.
Thorny Tale, Show Prince, Kazmania, Tiergan, Just Right, Funny Guy and Bydawnsearlylight completed the order of finish. Strive for a Cure and Bustin to Be Loved were scratched.
Davis, who earned his third win on the card, said he was pleased with the effort after the troubled start.
“The first plan was to come out running. He won coming off the pace; that was the second plan,” said Davis. “He took a little stumble out of there and got me a little worried, but I got him into gear, and he put himself right there.
“I was a little worried about being in between horses, but he handled it well,” continued Davis. “He put away one horse [Bydawnsearlylight, No. 1] to the inside and then was going his own way.”
Blindwillie McTell finished a closing second in his November 17 debut at Aqueduct ahead of his stylish maiden score at second asking in the Great White Way.
Rice said she expects Blindwillie McTell to be able to stretch out in distance going forward.
“I don't think he's necessarily a horse that needs the lead. His first race he sat off the pace and made a late run,” said Rice. “Going forward, I still think he's a horse that may be able to stretch out. We're just going to enjoy this win right now and weigh our options at a distance somewhere between six furlongs to a mile.”
Blindwillie McTell, by Posse out of the stakes-placed Flatter mare Bold Child, banked $55,000 in victory while improving his record to 2-1-0 from three starts. He paid $4.20.
Live racing continues on Friday at Aqueduct with an eight-race card. First post-time is 12:50 p.m.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2019 Paulick Report.