Laughing Boy upsets $150K Excelsior via disqualification
Stakes Recap
Mar 30, 2024
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Laughing Boy upsets $150K Excelsior via disqualification

by Christian Abdo

Lawrence Roman and trainer David Jacobson’s Laughing Boy sprung a 54-1 upset in Saturday’s 112th running of the Listed $150,000 Excelsior, a nine-furlong route for older horses, on Closing Day of the winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The 6-year-old Distorted Humor chestnut battled gamely along the rail under jockey Samuel Camacho, Jr., but was impeded by the Jose Gomez-piloted Messier at the three-sixteenths pole. Camacho, Jr. gathered up his charge and made an outside run but could not reel in Messier, who crossed the wire one length in front. Camacho, Jr. launched an objection against Gomez and Messier for interference in the stretch run and Laughing Boy was subsequently elevated to first by the stewards.

Laughing Boy, the longest price on the board at 54-1, broke sharply from the inside post with Rocco Strong applying early pressure and dual graded stakes winner Messier just outside of him, a bit wide entering the first turn. The longshot continued to lead but Rocco Strong made him work for it through a swift opening quarter-mile of 23.67 seconds over the fast main track.

“That was Mr. Jacobson’s instruction: to put the horse in front and let him be where he wanted and be happy. That worked out,” said Camacho, Jr., who earned his first stakes win in New York.

Laughing Boy continued to lead through the turn with Rocco Strong sticking within a half-length as Messier rated in third and Kuchar saved ground in fourth as the half-mile elapsed in 46.60.

Down the backside, Laughing Boy showed the way by one length with Messier passing Rocco Strong as Gomez geared up for his bid entering the far turn through three-quarters in 1:10.73.

Messier went by Laughing Boy in the turn and was 1 1/2-lengths in front at the stretch call, but the longshot refused to quit, rallying at the rail, desperately trying to fight back under Camacho, Jr.

Messier lugged in at the three-sixteenths pole and Camacho, Jr. maneuvered Laughing Boy back to the outside, and made up ground on his rival who crossed the wire one length in front in a final time of 1:49.91, before being disqualified and placed second.

It was 4 1/4-lengths back to Kuchar who held off Quality Chic for show-honors. Kinetic Sky, Curbstone, Olympic Dreams, and Rocco Strong rounded out the order of finish.

“I’m very excited. This is my first stake win ever in New York. Thank you to Mr. Jacobson that he put me on this horse,” said Camacho, Jr. “This is the first time I rode him, so it’s unbelievable and a good day. Thank God.”

Gomez said Messier ran a winning race.

“Nothing at all happened. My horse lugged in a little but, but he didn’t touch him [Laughing Boy], didn’t bother him. We were going by him and he wasn’t beating us today," Gomez said.

Laughing Boy, who won the one-mile Chocolate Town in November at Penn National, entered the race off of a distant eighth in the Listed one-mile Stymie here on March 2.

“I loved him in here. The horse has run some good races, but he just got all out of whack in the last race,” said Jacobson. “All his other races are tough races and he ran well. He'll run all day.”

Jacobson, who entered Closing Day of the Aqueduct winter meet third in the trainer standings, climbed to second with 22 total victories after a five-win day.

“We had the horses all ready and prepared,” said Jacobson. “The races fell our way and we got a few breaks.”

Out of the winning Congrats mare Applauding, Laughing Boy was a $47,000 purchase at the 2023 Fasig-Tipton Horses of Racing Age July Sale.

Bred in Kentucky by Imagine, Laughing Boy banked $82,500 in victory while improving his record to 31-4-4-5 with $369,988 in earnings. He returned $111 for a $2 win bet.

Live racing resumes Thursday at Aqueduct with an 8-race card to open the spring meeting. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the spring meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit

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

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