by Brian Bohl and Heather Pettinger
Amanda Laderer and Gary Downey's Candid Desire overtook Loki's Vengeance in deep stretch and outkicked Celtic Chaos at the wire to win the 39th running of the $100,000 Hollie Hughes for New York-bred 4 and up on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Candid Desire, trained by Gary Sciacca, won his first stakes in his 31st career start, completing six furlongs in 1:10.19 on the inner track. It was the second consecutive victory for the 5-year-old bay colt, who improved to 4-2-1 in 12 inner dirt starts at the Big A.
Bustin It set the early fractions, going a quarter-mile in 22.67 seconds and a half-mile in 45.31. Jockey Antonio Gallardo kept Candid Desire off the pace and surged from midpack out of the turn, angling four-wide to gain the lead before winning by a neck.
"I had a really good trip," Gallardo said. "I saw there was a lot of speed and that's really good for me because my horse will be coming off the pace. He gave me a really good kick. He's a really good horse and he's better on the outside when he can be in the clear. I could feel a horse trying to go between me and the other one and it got a little bit tight [in the stretch] but it was nothing."
Off at 5-1, Candid Desire paid $12.80 on a $2 win bet and improved his career earnings to $305,814. Sciacca won the Hollie Hughes for the first time since Appealing Guy captured the 1990 edition.
"He ran great, he had a great pace," Sciacca said. "Antonio did a great job sitting right off it. I saw the horse open up turning for home, and he [Gallardo] said, 'the horse did it all.' He was ready to go.
"He seems like he's just getting himself together right now," he added. "The owners have been very patient with him. It's just great to have success for them."
Celtic Chaos, for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, was the runner-up for his best stakes finish. Drama King came in third.
West Hills Giant, Loki's Vengeance, Bust Another, Bustin It and Bond Vigilante, the favorite, completed the order of finish. Full of Mine was scratched.
In day's first stakes in Race 3, Paul Pompa, Jr.'s Send It In picked up his eighth career win with a nail-biting victory in the $100,000 Haynesfield for New York-breds going 1 1/16 miles.
Sent off as the 1-9 favorite, the 5-year-old Curlin homebred settled in the three-path early behind Iron Power and the pacesetting Fox Rules, who took the field through an opening quarter-mile in 24.74 and the half in 48.84.
Send It In, under a drive from jockey Manny Franco, put away Iron Power as the field reached the top of the stretch and caught up with the leader near the sixteenth pole. An obstinate Fox Rules dug in and the pair locked up down the lane. The pacesetter could not hold off the heavily favored Send It In, who ultimately prevailed, getting his nose down on the wire for the win.
The winner, trained by Todd Pletcher, completed the route in 1:43.83 and returned $2.30 for a $2 win wager. The victory was the eighth from 15 career starts for Send It In, including his 3 ¾-length score in the Alex M. Robb on December 31 last time out. Saturday's win boosted his career earnings to $398,414.
Repent Twice closed for third, followed by Iron Power and Eden Ridge to round out the order of finish.