Ara Aprahamian's Life in Shambles made the grade with a strong late kick to win Thanksgiving Thursday's Grade 3, $200,000 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York.
Trained by Jason Servis and patiently piloted by Irad Ortiz, Jr., the 7-year-old Broken Vow gelding collared the dueling Heartwood and Always Sunshine late in the lane to capture the six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and upwards. He carried 127 pounds, four fewer than high weighted Heartwood.
A veteran of 41 career starts, Life in Shambles, who finished third in this event last year, needed all of his experience to break through in graded company for the first time.
“The trip was perfect. Two horses went ahead, and he just sat off and then went ahead. He ran a really good race. The fractions were OK. I knew they'd come back. We expected him to run good, and he did. He's a warrior. He's been there before. I think his experience helped him a lot,” said assistant trainer Henry Argueta.
Always Sunshine blasted out of the gate for Jose Ortiz, marking the opening quarter in 22.69 seconds and the half-mile in 46.27 while under pressure from Heartwood. Life in Shambles, settled comfortably in fourth position outside of mutuel favorite Runaway Lute, advanced with strong strides through the turn as Always Sunshine and Heartwood continued their pace battle.
The front-running duo continued a dogged struggle down the lane, with Heartwood edging clear of his rival, but there was no denying the onrushing Life in Shambles, who found his best stride late to secure a 3/4 length win. Life in Shambles covered six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:12.07.
Ortiz, Jr., was pleased with the trip he engineered for the hard-knocking grey.
“I got a perfect trip. He broke good. He put me in a good position, and he was right where I wanted when I asked him. Turning for home, he just ran really well,” said Ortiz, Jr.
Heartwood completed the exacta in front of a game Always Sunshine. Celtic Chaos, Runaway Lute and Win With Pride completed the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky by C. Clement and Don. M. Robinson, Life in Shambles banked $115,500 in victory while improving his record to 10-7-4.
Command Post, Lewisfield and Mesotherm were scratched.
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.