Three Diamonds Farm's Bigger Picture stepped from the $32,000 claiming ranks to a 1 1/4-length win in Saturday's G3 Red Smith Handicap over his tenure with trainer Mike Maker, earning the first graded win of his career. A 5-year-old son of Badge of Silver, Bigger Picture covered 1 3/8 miles over Aqueduct's firm turf in 2:15.46 to give jockey Jose Ortiz his third win on the card.
“I felt if I made a move I could get in a good position on the turn before No. 1 [Rum Tum Tugger],” Ortiz relayed. “I just felt like doing it and it worked out perfectly. They went slow but I could've stayed back because my horse was very relaxed. I made him go a little bit and got great position on the turn. I knew Johnny [Velasquez, aboard No. 11 Danish Dynaformer] was coming from the outside but we entered the stretch and I let him go and he responded. He's a very game horse, when he felt the horse [Danish Dynaformer] coming towards him he flicked his ears and tried to kick on.”
Bigger Picture got a perfect stalking trip under Ortiz, laying fifth behind moderate early fractions. I'll Call led Smooth Daddy by a length, ticking off the route's fractions in :25.14, :49.80, 1:15.18 and 1:39.39. The two leaders were tracked by Rum Tum Tugger and Tale of Fancy, with favorite Wake Forest tracking from eighth early on. Approaching the far turn for the final time, Ortiz moved Bigger Picture up the rail between horses into third position.
Turning for home, I'll Call still held a one-length advantage over the field, but Bigger Picture angled out alongside Wake Forest and Danish Dynaformer for the final charge. Some squeezing and bumping delayed the rally of Wake Forest in early stretch. An exploding Bigger Picture got the jump on his rivals, but was moving best of all late to finish 1 1/4 lengths in front. Danish Dynaformer nosed out Wake Forest for second, and Arties Silver Mine finished fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Bigger Picture actually began his career under the care of Maker, bolting to a DNF in his first start at Turfway Park. He won easily in his second start, but was claimed away in his fourth start. Maker claimed him back for $32,000 in November of 2015, and he has been moving up into stakes company steadily in his last several starts. The Red Smith is his first graded stakes victory, improving the gelding's overall record to eight wins from 20 starts, with earnings of over $450,000.
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