Favorites run to form in NYSS Times Square and Park Avenue
By Sean Morris | 04/27/2014 06:16 PM ET
On closing day at Aqueduct Racetrack, Loki's Vengeance and Henry's Gal padded their resumes with easy scores in the Times Square and Park Avenue divisions, respectively, of the New York Stallion Series.
Loki's Vengeance, trained by Mike Hushion for Blue Bison Stable and ridden by Manny Franco, captured the Times Square from off the pace, a departure from his usual front-running style. The son of Frost Giant tracked a leisurely pace set by Lulu Rocks in third, and made a three-wide run on the far turn to sweep to the lead and draw off to a 1 ¼-length victory over Empire Dreams.
"I told [Manny Franco] don't rate him too much," said Hushion. "Let him have his way with you. One way or the other, he's a nice horse, a fast horse. We'll see how he comes out of this and what's there, whether we'll look at the Mike Lee or something else."
The heavy favorite, Loki's Vengeance returned $2.90 on a $2 win bet and boosted his earnings to $161,200. He covered the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.80.
In the Park Avenue, Henry's Gal waltzed to the lead and never looked back en route to a four-length victory for trainer Rudy Rodriguez and owner Michael Dubb, who claimed the horse for $75,000 on March 2 at Aqueduct. With Cornelio Velasquez aboard, the dark bay or brown daughter of Disco Rico led the field through splits of 24.13 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 47.50 for the half before stopping the clock in 1:17.70 for 6 ½ furlongs.
"That's what I was expecting from her," said Rodriguez, "[considering] the way she won the other day and the way she's breezed in the morning. We've just tried to keep her happy. She's a runner and we're happy to have her in the barn. All the credit goes to Michael Dubb for picking out the horse; he saw that she was eligible for the New York Stallion Series."
Henry's Gal returned $3 on a $2 win wager as the 1-2 favorite and enhanced her bankroll to $151,000.
Taking home his second consecutive Aqueduct spring meet training title was David Jacobson, who saddled 18 winners, followed by Rodriguez, with 15.
Jockey Jose Ortiz earned his first individual meet title on The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit with 28 winners, topping his brother, Irad Ortiz, Jr., who had 23 wins. Michael Dubb and Drawing Away Stable were tied as meet's leading owners with eight victories each.
Racing moves to Belmont Park on Thursday, May 1, for the 54-day spring/summer meet, the centerpiece of which is the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday June 7. First race post time on Thursday is 1:20 p.m.