WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing's New York Central made short work of Saturday's Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Stakes, racing up the rail in the stretch to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Proforma as the 2-1 co-favorite. The 4-year-old son of Tapit, ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr. for trainer Steve Asmussen, covered six furlongs over Pimlico's fast main track in 1:08.74.
“We got a clean break,” said Santana. “That's what we were worried about, because sometimes he doesn't break. He broke pretty good today, and I just had patience that the rail would open. I know my horse. He's a fighter and he'll go through. As soon as I asked him, he went on through. I had plenty of horse at the three-eighths [pole]. I just wanted to have plenty of patience to make the right move. I didn't want to move too early. This is a long stretch. I just had to have a little patience, and thanks God we took the win.”
Lewisfield and Wentz went from the gate in unison, striding down the backstretch while Proforma tracked them from third while three-wide. Meanwhile, Santana kept New York Central on the rail in about fourth position, no more than three lengths off the frontrunners.
After a first quarter in :22.65, Wentz took over the lead and marked the half-mile split in :44.84. The leading pair angled off the rail a bit in the far turn, leaving just enough room for Santana to send New York Central on through. The colt responded willingly, pulling away down the lane to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Proforma got up for second, while Lewisfield checked in third. The remaining order of finish was: Wentz, Fellowship, and Parade of Nations.
Bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock, New York Central was a $750,000 yearling purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Select sale. The colt broke his maiden at second asking, and has recorded two other wins in allowance company. He ran second in the 2018 Pat Day Mile, but was off about eight months after that start. The Maryland Sprint is his first stakes triumph, and improves New York Central's overall record to four wins from nine starts and earnings of over $300,000.
“He had a little bit of an issue after the Pat Day Mile behind, so we turned him out and were real patient with him and it's paid off,” said WinStar's Elliott Walden. “He's come back great and Steve felt like this was a perfect spot for him. He did a great job. I think he's a one-turn horse. He ran very well in the Pat Day Mile to be second at a mile around one turn. The way he was able to just sit behind the pace and then kick like he did, they ran fast, so it was a big race.”
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