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Farhaan beats Percussion in Stymie

By Jenny Kellner | 02/22/2014 05:44 PM ET
PHOTO/Chelsea Durand

Farhaan picked up his second straight stakes score Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack, outkicking a stubborn Percussion in deep stretch to win the 59th running of the $100,000 Stymie by a neck.

Running easily in third behind favored Percussion and Mail, the second choice, as they opened up eight lengths and dueled through an opening quarter mile in 24.03 seconds and a half in 48.50, Farhaan began closing the gap as the field of five headed into the far turn. With Mail beginning to fade, jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., sent Farhaan into a short lead over Percussion approaching the quarter pole, but the favorite refused to buckle and the two battled in very tight quarters to the wire, with Farhaan prevailing in the final strides.

Jockey Christopher DeCarlo, aboard Percussion, claimed foul and there was a stewards' inquiry into the stretch run, but the order of finish remain unchanged.

"It was very tight, but I think they made the right decision," said Art Magnuson, assistant to winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "Todd's horse [Percussion] ran very, very gamely. He had to withstand pressure early and then fight us off. Our horse has really grown up. We're very excited about him."

Farhaan, who won the restricted Lord of the Night stakes on December 29, completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.52.

"I knew my horse was going to keep his head in front," said Ortiz. "The last two times he has won, and he's in his best condition right now. The trainer did a great job with him."

Sent off at 3-1, Farhaan returned $8.10 for a $2 win bet as he extended his North American record to 3-0-1 from seven starts, earning $60,000 for Shadwell Stable. The 5-year-old son of 2006 Belmont Stakes winner Jazil began his career in England, where he won two of seven before being shipped to McLaughlin last year.

"He came from overseas in top form, and won [on the turf at Saratoga]," said Magnuson. "He started getting a little aggressive with us, and was acting like he might adjust to the dirt, and he has. We could probably do either one. He's relaxing so much. Throughout the year, we've got dirt and turf, so there's a lot of options. The Excelsior [Grade 3, March 22, 1 1/8 miles] sounds like a logical spot but it's up to Mr. [Rick] Nichols and Kiaran."

Jonesy Boy closed from fifth to gain third, a length behind Percussion, with Mail finishing fourth and Gourmet Dinner checking in fifth. Dawly and Don Dulce were scratched.