OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Frazil emerged victorious from a three-way duel out of the starting gate and held off a fast-closing Pretty Boy Freud Saturday afternoon to win the 53rd running of the $65,000 Gravesend Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack, his first stakes triumph.
Leaving from post position 4 under jockey Cornelio Velasquez, Frazil quickly moved up outside Rule by Night and This Ones for Phil, with the trio battling heads apart through an opening half-mile in 46.51. At the top of the stretch, Frazil poked a head in front and began edging away from his two rivals in the final 100 yards, with enough left to stave off the late run from Pretty Boy Freud and win by three-quarters of a length.
His time for the six furlongs was 1:10.71 over a fast inner track.
“He liked the distance a lot; three-quarters is the best distance for him,” said Velasquez of Frazil, a 5-year-old gelded son of The Cliff's Edge who was making his stakes debut. “He ran big, too. If I ask him, he'll go wire-to-wire. If the speed goes fast, he'll stay behind. Today, there wasn't much pace so I put him right there, and I had a lot of horse.”
It was the third consecutive victory for Frazil, who won starter handicaps at the Big A on November 5 and at Belmont Park on October 16 for his owner and trainer, Linda Rice.
“I was really proud of him,” said Rice. “Obviously, he'd been carrying so much weight for so long, the 115 [pounds] helped him. Today, everything went perfectly.”
Sent off as the 5-2 second choice in the field of four, Frazil returned $7 for a $2 win bet and won $39,000 to lift his earnings to $252,574. The victory was his eighth in 13 starts this year, and overall his record stands at 13-4-2 from 24 starts.
“I've trained him since he was a 2-year-old; he was a big, clumsy young horse,” said Rice. “He's a very big horse, about 17 hands, and we gave him a chance to find his way. He's something – he pins his ears back, his head's down, you can see the expression in his eyes – he's a barn favorite.”
This Ones for Phil and Rule by Night completed the order of finish behind Pretty Boy Freud. Escrow Kid was an early scratch, with Deerslayer scratched on the track after unseating jockey Mike Luzzi, colliding with the rail and bruising his shoulder.
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