by Keith McCalmont
Lawrence Goichman's homebred Kathryn the Wise, with a powerful front-running performance, proved much the best in Saturday's $100,000 La Verdad at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Breaking alertly under Manny Franco for conditioner Chad Brown, Kathryn the Wise went to the lead and never looked back, dominating her rivals over a sloppy Big A main track to earn a romping 10 3/4-length victory in the seven-furlong sprint for New York-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward.
Sent to post as the 8-5 mutuel favorite, Kathryn the Wise reached the quarter-mile mark in 23.10 seconds and the half in 46.74 with Pauseforthecause, the 9-5 second choice, on her flank and Byself and Silly Sister stalking from a comfortable margin.
Kathryn the Wise continued to improve her lead through the turn, opening up by 5 1/2-lengths at the top of the lane, and easily distanced herself from her rivals en route to a decisive score in a final running time of 1:25.22.
Reylu Gutierrez, earlier today named an Eclipse Award finalist in the Apprentice Jockey category, kept to task with a rallying Playinwiththeboys to complete the exacta by a neck over Pauseforthecause.
Starlite Mission, Sunset Ridge, Palladian Bridge, Silly Sister and Byself completed the order of finish. Out of Orbit and Satisfy were scratched.
The lightly raced Kathryn the Wise has made a habit of recording dominant victories, taking her debut at Aqueduct in November 2016 by 5 1/2-lengths and her second start, an April 2017 allowance tilt at Aqueduct, by 12 lengths. In May 2017, Kathryn the Wise earned her first stakes win, 8 1/4-lengths clear of her nearest rival in the Critical Eye on a sloppy Belmont main.
Whit Beckman, assistant to Brown, who was named an Eclipse Award finalist for Outstanding Trainer, said the track condition played its part in the facile score.
"She likes the slop, and she performed in it today," said Beckman. "The plan was to see if she could get to the lead easily and she did just that. She rated up front nicely and kicked away when asked. Good performance from her to start the year and we'll see how she comes out it before deciding what's next."
Franco, the leading rider on the NYRA circuit in 2018, said his filly was relaxed throughout.
"She was ready. I came out of there good and put her on the lead, because I talked to Chad [Brown] and he told me to go for it," said Franco. "She was so comfortable in front and she was there for me.
"I just [urged] her one time, and as soon as I did, she just took off," Franco added. "I had a lot of horse under me."
Kathryn the Wise banked $55,000 in victory while improving her record to four wins and one second from six starts. She paid $5.40 to win.
Live racing continues on Sunday at Aqueduct with an eight-race card. First post-time is 12:50 p.m.