Arthur's Hope goes gate to wire in $100K Say Florida Sandy
by Ryan Martin
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Raul DelValle's Arthur's Hope broke alertly from the gate and led at every point of call to score his first stakes triumph in Saturday's $100,000 Say Florida Sandy, a seven-furlong test for New York-breds at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Marco Salazar, the 6-year-old Smart Bid chestnut was nudged by jockey Kendrick Carmouche leaving the gate and completed the opening quarter-mile in 23.17 seconds on the fast main track with T Loves a Fight another 1 ½ lengths back in second.
With the half-mile reached in 45.90 seconds, Arthur's Hope maintained his advantage and was asked by Carmouche for more at the quarter pole. At the top of the stretch, T Loves a Fight put in a furious bid just to the outside of Arthur's Hope with Aveenu Malcainu and The Caretaker in the respective three and four paths making their runs.
Approaching the eighth-pole, T Loves a Fight confronted Arthur's Hope but the frontrunner was able to keep his foe at bay besting T Loves a Fight by one length in a final time of 1:23.92. It was another 1 ¼ lengths back to Aveenu Malcainu in third.
Completing the order of finish were The Caretaker, My Boy Tate and Celtic Chaos. Morning Breez was scratched.
"We got to put them to sleep and just coach him home. He ran awesome," said Carmouche, who notched his first stakes victory of the Winter Meet. "The trainer called me from Delaware this morning and said to just put him on the lead and don't fight with him too much. I warmed him up good on track just before the race. He switched leads perfectly and he held them off in the deep stretch."
The scratch of Morning Breez allowed for Arthur's Hope to have an easier lead, but Carmouche said that the plan was to go to the front regardless.
"I was going to the front no matter what. It was just a matter of how far he could go with the distance at seven-eighths," Carmouche said. "With the track favoring speed the last three days it worked out perfect."
Bred in the Empire State by Monhill Farm, Arthur's Hope notched a 12th lifetime victory in 26 career starts. He started his career in Panama, where he was a consistent 8-for-11. The Say Florida Sandy was a first stakes triumph for Arthur's Hope, who banked $55,000 from the win bringing his career earnings up to $255,748. He returned $12.20 for a $2 win wager.
Jockey Dylan Davis, aboard runner-up T Loves a Fight, got the trip he wanted but was unable to catch the winner.
"I was just playing the track bias today," Davis said. "I wanted to break sharp and I knew Kendrick was going to go - he had speed and the track was playing speed. I wanted to be forwardly placed. He was running against what he likes to do - he's a closer - but just trying make up that one length was really tough. He fought hard."
Arthur's Hope, a thrifty $22,000 acquisition from the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, is out of the Citidancer broodmare Prom Dance.
Live racing resumes Sunday at the Big A with an eight-race card highlighted by the $100,000 Rego Park in Race 7. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.