Backsideofthemoon goes gate-to-wire for first stakes win since 2018 in Queens County
by Brian Bohl
Repole Stable’s Backsideofthemoon went nearly 12 months between victories. But after earning a winner’s circle trip last out going 1 1/8 miles on November 13, the Rudy Rodriguez trainee capped his 2020 with a second straight score, leading gate-to-wire to win Saturday’s $100,000 Queens County for 3-year-olds and up at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Backsideofthemoon broke sharp from post 4 under Jose Lezcano, surging to the front and angled near the rail with even-money favorite Musical Heart in close pursuit with the opening quarter-mile in 24.18 seconds, the half in 48.39 and three-quarters in 1:13.17 on the fast main track.
Out of the final turn, Lezcano kept Backsideofthemoon to the inside and opened up in the final furlong to draw away a six-length winner. The 8-year-old son of Malibu Moon completed the 1 1/8-mile course in 1:52.94, earning his first stakes win in 11 attempts dating to the Jazil in January 2018.
“He broke very well,” said Lezcano, who registered his third win of the day. “I sent him a little bit and after that he just jumped right in the bridle. He seemed very confident the whole way around. When I asked him, he gave me everything he had and just kept on going.”
Off at 7-2, Backsideofthemoon returned $9.20 on a $2 win wager for winning the 115th edition of the Queens County. He improved his career earnings to $722,216.
The Kentucky bred won for the sixth time in 19 starts over the Big A main track.
“All the credit goes to [owner] Mike [Repole]. We were going to scratch and run tomorrow,” Rodriguez said. “I called Mike and he said, ‘You know what, Rudy? Just leave him there. I think he’ll be good in there.’ So, I have to give the credit to Mike. He plays the game very aggressively. We’ll see what he wants to do next out.”
After winning last month at the same distance in a race moved off the turf, Rodriguez said Backsideofthemoon handled the return to stakes company with aplomb. Rodriguez is 2-for-2 with his charge after claiming him out of a second-place effort on September 24 at Belmont Park.
“We never expected to see him on the lead, but Jose said he broke so sharp and was really in the bridle,” Rodriguez said. “He just left him alone. He always tries; that’s why we claimed him.”
Musical Heart, trained by Rob Atras and ridden by Kendrick Carmouche, cruised to a second-place finish, 12 ¼ lengths in front of Empty Tomb. Mirinaque, Danny California and So High completed the order of finish. Forewarned was scratched.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Aqueduct with a 10-race card. First post is 11:50 a.m.