Stakes Recap
Jan 22, 2022
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First Constitution wins wire-to-wire in $100K Jazil

by Keith McCalmont



Don Alberto Stable, WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ First Constitution made every pole a winning one in Saturday’s $100,000 Jazil, a nine-furlong test for older horses at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, First Constitution, a Group 1-winner in his native Chile, secured his first win in North America with the 6 3/4-length score under Jose Lezcano.

First Constitution broke well from post 2 and was hustled to the front through sharp splits of 23.13 seconds and 46.78 over the fast main track under pressure from Core Conviction. The duo continued their pace battle into the final turn with Why Why Paul Why tracking in third ahead of Twelve Volt Man and Forewarned.

The 5-year-old Constitution chestnut extended his advantage through the final turn as Kendrick Carmouche guided Why Why Paul Why into contention outside of a fading Core Conviction and Forewarned – a 42-1 upset winner of the Queens County last out – launched his trademark late run.

Lezcano continued to ask his charge for more, opening up a 5 1/2-length lead at the stretch call and never looked back en route to a smart score in a final time of 1:47.96. Why Why Paul Why completed the exacta by 10 lengths over Twelve Volt Man.

The prominent score marked the first stakes win of 2022 for Lezcano, who said he felt confident throughout despite the sharp splits.

“He broke sharp enough to be there and he did it very comfortably and solid,” Lezcano said. “He brought his race today. He broke running and finished running. I know I was going pretty fast, but he did it confidently.

“When we got to the backside, [Core Conviction] gave me a half-length in front of my horse and we really got comfortable,” Lezcano added. “When we got to the half-mile he jumped back in the bridle and I knew I had a lot of horse. He’s a very nice horse and did everything right to win the race today.”

Forewarned and Core Conviction rounded out the order of finish. Empty Tomb, who will contest next Saturday’s Grade 1, $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park, and Splicethemainbrace were scratched.

The victory marked the second Jazil win for Pletcher, who captured the inaugural running in 2015 with Micromanage. Byron Hughes, Pletcher’s New York-based assistant said the prominent steer from Lezcano paid dividends.

“The two speed horses scratched and we weren’t sure what Kendrick was going to do,” Hughes said. “I think Jose just took matters into his own hands and was a little aggressive into the first turn, but it paid off.”

First Constitution captured the Group 1 Gran Criterium Mauricio Serrano Palma in his native Chile in October 2020. He was transferred to Pletcher last season and kept good company through four starts, garnering a career-best 98 Beyer with a runner-up effort to stakes-placed Speaker’s Corner in October at Belmont ahead of a runner-up effort in November at the Big A to Empty Tomb.

Hughes said the nine furlongs proved beneficial for the classy First Constitution.

“He’s a Group 1 winner going a mile and three sixteenths in South America, so you would imagine a mile and an eighth wouldn’t be a problem up here,” Hughes said. “Todd will get with the ownership group and decide what’s next for him.”

Bred in Chile by Haras Don Alberto, First Constitution banked $55,000 in victory while improving his record to 9-4-2-2. He returned $7.90 for a $2 win bet.

Live racing resumes Sunday at the Big A with nine-race card, headlined in Race 8 by the $100,000 Busanda – a nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies offering 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-four finishers. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern. 

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the winter meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.


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