Lord Miles registers 93 BSF for 59-1 upset score in G2 Wood Memorial
Apr 11, 2023
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Lord Miles registers 93 BSF for 59-1 upset score in G2 Wood Memorial

by NYRA Press Office

  • Lord Miles registers 93 BSF for 59-1 upset score in G2 Wood Memorial
  • Doppelganger provides Russell, Toledo first G1 win with Carter Handicap triumph
  • Promiseher America stamps her G1 Kentucky Oaks ticket in G3 Gazelle; Funny How likely for G3 Vagrancy
  • Rice posts big weekend at the Big A with G3 scores by claimed horses Mommasgottarun, Joey Freshwater
  • Hit Show game in defeat in G2 Wood Memorial
  • Pletcher's Big A brigade in good order after Saturday stakes engagements
  • Lezcano incurs broken bone in right hand
  • G1 Carter runner-up Repo Rocks may point to G3 Westchester 

Lord Miles, trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr. and piloted by Paco Lopez, returned a whopping $120.50 for his 59-1 upset score in Saturday’s Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Curlin colt, a Kentucky homebred for Vegso Racing Stable, finished strongest of all in an all-out battle to the wire while racing to the outside of favored Hit Show with regally-bred maiden Dreamlike staying on gamely at the rail. 

The rivals came together in the final sixteenth with Lord Miles scoring by a nose over the Manny Franco-piloted favorite Hit Show and the Jose Ortiz-ridden Dreamlike finishing a further head back in third. The pacesetter, Arctic Arrogance, finished 5 1/4-lengths in arrears in fourth, a head better than fifth-place Classic Catch.

Lord Miles survived a stewards’ inquiry and jockey objection from Franco to secure the win in the nine-furlong test for sophomores and garner the maximum allotment in the 100-40-30-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifier. Lord Miles, who is sixth on the leaderboard with 105 points, covered the nine-furlongs in 1:51.17 and earned a career-best 93 Beyer Speed Figure.

Joseph, Jr. has saddled two previous Derby runners, including Ny Traffic [8th, 2020] and last year's Grade 1 Florida Derby-winner, White Abarrio, who finished 16th in a race won by 80-1 shot Rich Strike.

"This will be our third Derby in the last four years and I've learned just to get there is good and then hope for the best," Joseph, Jr. said. "Last year, with White Abarrio, we thought we'd have a pretty good chance, but it didn't work out the way we wanted. But you appreciate being there and anything can happen in the Derby, like we saw last year with Rich Strike."

Lord Miles shipped out of Belmont Park by van this morning to return to Gulfstream Park and continue preparations for the Grade 1, $3 million Kentucky Derby to be held on May 6 at Churchill Downs.

“He might have both works here or he could work once and then go to Kentucky, but we'll give it a couple days and come up with a plan," Joseph, Jr. said. "He was good this morning. He checked up well, ate up his food and came out of the race well."

Peter Vegso, a native of Montreal, Canada, campaigned multiple Grade 1-winner Splendid Blended and Grade 1-winner Go Between. More recently, Vegso Racing Stable's multiple graded-stakes winner Officiating captured last year's Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap here for Joseph, Jr. Vegso Racing Stable also bred Caledonia Road, who was named 2017 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly after winning the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar. 

Joseph, Jr. said Vegso was over the moon with Saturday's thrilling score by his homebred out of the Majestic Warrior mare Lady Esme. 

"He was ecstatic. He's never had a Derby runner before and, for me, that's very important,” Joseph, Jr. said. “He's been in racing a long time and bred good horses. He's bred a Breeders' Cup winner, so to give him an opportunity to be there is gratifying. At the end of the day, the owners give us these chances and it's our duty to produce for them. It's fulfilling that God blessed us to make it happen."

Joseph, Jr. noted that Lord Miles had raced on-and-off the bridle in his races leading up to the Wood Memorial. He made his first three starts at Gulfstream Park, winning on debut traveling six furlongs ahead of a closing third in the Much Macho Man in January. He added blinkers for the Grade 3 Holy Bull and was a distant sixth before a last-out fifth with blinkers off and Lopez aboard for the first time in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby.

Joseph, Jr. credited Lopez for his attentive ride on Saturday.

"He traveled well yesterday but between the five-eighths and the half, he came off the bridle and it looked like he was almost done, but Paco was able to keep him going,” Joseph, Jr. said. 

The Barbados-born conditioner, a third generation horseman, has become one of the top trainers at Gulfstream Park where he recently defended his title at the prestigious Championship Meet. There, he was able to watch first hand two of his strongest rivals for Derby glory in Tapit Trice, who captured Saturday’s Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland, and Forte, the reigning Champion 2-Year-Old Colt, who won the Grade 1 Florida Derby at the Hallandale Beach oval. 

Joseph, Jr. said he has the utmost respect for Forte and Tapit Trice, who are both conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, but is hopeful that Lord Miles can level up once more.

“The more he races, the better he's going to get and he's going to need to improve because Forte is a deserving favorite and Tapit Trice would be my Derby pick if I didn't have a horse in the race,” Joseph, Jr. said. “I think there's more improvement there. The distance should be alright. The main thing with him is his greenness to stay on the bridle. It worked out much better yesterday because he broke well and was able to stay in the clear. The Derby is going to be a different story with 20 horses. Hopefully, he keeps learning and gets more focused."

Joseph, Jr. said Lord Miles would likely thrive at the 12-furlong distance of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, the third leg of the Triple Crown slated for June 10.

"We’ll take it one race at a time, but you would think he would definitely like the distance with his running style and being by Curlin, there's a lot of stamina," Joseph, Jr. said.

Joseph, Jr. said Arindel’s Florida homebred Knox, who finished eighth in the Wood Memorial, will stay with his string at Belmont Park. The Brethren colt, piloted by Jose Gomez, was hustled into the first turn and bumped with rivals before saving ground down the backstretch. The even effort, finishing 10 lengths back of his stablemate, earned a career-best 78 Beyer.

"He tried. He wasn't disgraced and only beat 10 lengths,” Joseph, Jr. said. “Down the backstretch, he was more forwardly placed and into the bridle than he's ever been, but from there he tapered away. 

“Maybe down on the inside wasn't the best place to be yesterday. But it might have just been his best also,” added Joseph, Jr. “We'll leave him in New York and look at a 'starter $50K' first and then take a shot again at the big summer races.”

The victory by Lord Miles was a welcome reprieve for Joseph, Jr., who was disappointed to have to scratch C Two Racing Stable and Antonio Pagnano’s White Abarrio from the co-featured Grade 1 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets. 

The Grade 1-winner spiked a temperature earlier in the week after shipping up from Florida, and will now focus on the one-turn mile Grade 3, $175,000 Westchester on May 5 as a prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap on June 10 at Belmont Park.

"He's been fine, but still coughing a bit," Joseph, Jr. said. "Hopefully, that quiets down next week and we can get him back under tack by Wednesday or Thursday and point to the Belmont race [the Westchester]."


Doppelganger provides Russell, Toledo first G1 win with Carter Handicap triumph

When trainer Brittany Russell scored the first graded stakes victory of her career in October 2021 with Wondrwherecraigis in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap, she had even more to celebrate the next day when she underwent a cesarean section to deliver her second baby. 

This time around, day-after celebrations looked a bit different after Russell won her first Grade 1 with Doppelganger in Saturday’s $300,000 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct Racetrack. The Maryland-based conditioner is home today, enjoying Easter morning with her two children and husband, Sheldon. 

“We’re just enjoying the family and we’ll have a little Easter egg hunt,” said Russell, with a laugh. “It’s just back to reality with the family and worrying about getting back to work this week.” 

Doppelganger has given Russell plenty to celebrate, boasting a perfect 3-for-3 record since making his first start for her in January. He scored two allowance victories at Laurel Park traveling 1 1/16 miles and one-mile, respectively, en route to his Carter victory. 

“He’s a horse with quite a personality and he doesn’t know what he’s beating, but he knows he’s winning and doing a good job,” Russell said. 

The son of Into Mischief, who is owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert Masterson, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, Golconda Stable and Siena Farm, attained Grade 1 glory yesterday with a perfect rallying trip under Jevian Toledo, who also earned the first Grade 1 victory of his career. Doppelganger tracked in fifth-of-7 down the backstretch under a patient Toledo before swinging three-wide in the turn to make up ground with every stride down the lane and draw away to a 1 1/2-length victory over Repo Rocks. 

Russell said she has relived the moment countless times since yesterday. 

“He’s out with my assistant this morning having a pick of grass and he thinks he’s King Kong,” Russell said. “I’ve watched the race about a hundred times and I’m really proud of him. Toledo rode him so well and I’m just in disbelief honestly. You go up there and you hope things will set up well and that he’ll run a big race and get a piece of it. But for him to go up there and win it is just amazing. We’re just so proud of him.” 

Russell indicated after the race that a logical spot for Doppelganger’s next start could be the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap on June 10 at Belmont Park. While she still would like to see the horse back on the track and discuss plans with the ownership group, Russell said the Met Mile remains a practical target. 

“He’s a Grade 1 winner now, so you kind of want to see if he keeps getting better,” Russell said. “That means we’ll have to keep testing him.” 

Russell said Uncle Jake, who finished a pacesetting last-of-12 in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino yesterday, emerged from the race in good order. 

“He’s OK and seems fine this morning,” said Russell. “We’ll give him a few days here and probably just try and get him back on track.” 


Promiseher America stamps her G1 Kentucky Oaks ticket in G3 Gazelle; Funny How likely for G3 Vagrancy

Hoffman Thoroughbreds and Tom McCrocklin’s Promiseher America earned a career-best 82 Beyer Speed Figure when capturing Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000 Gazelle for sophomore fillies going nine furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack. 

In capturing the final local prep on the Kentucky Oaks trail, Promiseher America earned the maximum allotment of 100 points towards the prestigious Grade 1 test at Churchill Downs while also providing trainer Ray Handal with his first graded stakes conquest. 

“I was watching the replay this morning and watching the coverage,” Handal said. “It’s so cool. It’s been a long time coming, so I’m happy we finally got it done. And what a way to do it, with a horse now going to one of the biggest races in the country on one of the biggest weekends of the year.”

Handal reported that Promiseher America was nominated to the Oaks following her Gazelle triumph. 

“We did that yesterday,” Handal said. “$1,500 to nominate so we went ahead and did that.”

Promiseher America, by 2015 Triple Crown winner and Hall of Famer American Pharoah, entered the Gazelle after making the third time the charm in a local February 19 maiden test going a one-turn mile. She stalked the pace from fourth down the backstretch before taking command at the stretch call and darting away to a 6 1/2-length score. 

Handal spoke of how her maiden win encouraged him to take a chance in the Gazelle. 

“I’ve been one to take shots. You only get these restricted races once and if there was a time to swing, this was it,” Handal said. “Every now and then you get lucky, and it worked out here. She’s a good young horse, she continues to improve, and I see her taking another step forward. I think she’ll get better and who knows, maybe she shocks the world in four weeks.”

Promiseher America will remain at Belmont Park to train for the Kentucky Oaks, according to Handal. 

“I’d rather just keep her in her routine here and worry about if she likes the track and adjust things when she gets there. I like keeping them all under one roof as long as possible,” Handal said. 

Bred in Kentucky by Robert and Lawana Low, Promiseher America is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Promisedyouheaven, whose dam Hurricane Bernie is a half-sister to dual Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection [2012-13]. She was bought for $75,000 at the 2022 OBS April Sale. 

On Friday, Handal saddled Adelphi Racing Club and Cutair Racing’s Funny How to a runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap. The seven-furlong event ended the New York-bred Overanalyze filly’s five-race win streak. 

Handal said he would likely keep Funny How against graded company for her next start in the Grade 3, $175,000 Vagrancy on May 14 at Belmont Park going 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track with the Grade 2, $200,000 Ruffian on May 6 at Belmont going a one-turn mile as a viable alternative. 

“I think we keep going this route until she says otherwise,” Handal said. “More than likely we’ll go to the Vagrancy. I guess the Ruffian isn’t off the table, but I’m leaning toward the Vagrancy at 6 1/2. It gives her more time. The Ruffian is a little quicker back and plus it’s usually a tough race.” 

Bred by Hibiscus Stables, Funny How is a half-sister to multiple New York-bred stakes winner Funny Guy.

Handal has been in notable winning form recently, securing victories in four of his last eight starts. His other two fresh off a triumph include Merrylegs Farm’s New York homebred Listentoyourheart, who secured a career-best 100 Beyer in a Friday state-bred allowance going seven furlongs. 

The 6-year-old Afleet Alex gelding earned his fourth career victory and first under Handal’s care. Previously trained by Christophe Clement, Listentoyourheart won Finger Lakes’ Aspirant during his juvenile season. Handal said he would likely try open company with Listentoyourheart. 

“I thought he’d run well, but I didn’t expect that. I’m lucky we have all his conditions still,” Handal said. “We’ll see how he fares against open company.”

Also on Friday, Handal sent out New York-bred Gem Mint Ten to a maiden win at third asking going six furlongs on the outer turf. The sophomore Laoban colt could stretch out for his next start according to Handal, who sung praises on behalf of owners Adelphi Racing Club and Cutair Racing. 

“Good for the Adelphi group. I think he wants a little more ground. We’ll keep swinging away with him. He looks like one with a future,” Handal said. “The barn is rolling right now. My team and I work hard so it’s nice to see it come around for us. It’s been a grind. It doesn’t ever get easier but it’s nice to see the horses running the way they are.”


Rice posts big weekend at the Big A with G3 scores by claimed horses Mommasgottarun, Joey Freshwater

Trainer Linda Rice enjoyed graded stakes success on Friday and Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack when she sent out Ronald P. Stewart’s Mommasgottarun to win the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap and Winning Move Stable’s Joey Freshwater to take Saturday’s Grade 3 Bay Shore. 

Both horses have proven well worth their $50,000 purchase prices after they were claimed out of efforts in December and November, respectively. 

“You never anticipate winning a Grade 3 with a horse that you claimed,” Rice said, with a laugh. “We claim horses with the idea to win a few races before we lose them in another claiming race. Ideally, we want to claim a horse that we can keep long term and win big races, like Joey Freshwater and Mommasgottarun.” 

Mommasgottarun was claimed out of a lackluster fifth-place finish on December 31 here and has turned things around for Rice, winning 3-of-5 starts since and finishing second in another. She entered the seven-furlong Distaff on just five day’s rest after a pacesetting fifth-place finish in last Sunday’s nine-furlong Top Flight and made the grade next out with a stalking trip engineered by Eric Cancel. 

“We entered on Sunday before she had even run in the first race and the racing secretary said, ‘You’re going to run in there?’ I said, ‘I might,’” said Rice, with a laugh. “I had spent a lot of time trying to figure out what race was better for her tactically, and obviously I chose the wrong one [in the Top Flight]. A filly like her who has no conditions left, you have to find the right opportunities for them. They don’t come along every day, and the filly was strong and healthy. As they get older, they can race more frequently provided you don’t run them too much as a young horse.”

Rice said both the one-mile Grade 2, $200,000 Ruffian on May 6 and the 6 1/2-furlong Grade 3, $175,000 Vagrancy on May 14, both at Belmont Park, are under consideration for the filly’s next outing. 

It did not take Rice long to visit the winner’s circle again for a graded event, saddling Joey Freshwater to his Bay Shore victory the next day. Ridden by Kendrick Carmouche, the son of Jimmy Creed chased the pace down the backstretch of the seven-furlong sprint before taking command at the top of the stretch and never looking back under confident handling from Carmouche, crossing the wire first by 1 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:24.91. 

“I thought we were in a good spot and that was a nice group of horses,” said Rice. “I liked the trip and it was just a matter of if he [Carmouche] had enough horse.” 

Joey Freshwater, who Rice claimed out of a winning effort on November 27 at Churchill Downs, entered from a close runner-up finish against older horses on March 19 at the Big A, an effort Rice said gave her confidence heading into the Bay Shore. 

“He came back good,” said Rice. “It was a big effort and I had struggled to get a race for him for a while. I finally had to run him against older horses to get him a race. I think he benefitted from that race as far as seasoning and fitness. It wasn’t ideal to do run him against older, but it served a purpose.”

Rice said it is likely Joey Freshwater could have one more start before a potential engagement in the Grade 1, $400,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun on June 10 at Belmont Park. A logical stepping stone could be the six-furlong $150,000 Gold Fever on May 12 over Big Sandy. 

“We could use the Gold Fever and if he succeeds in that, we could point towards the Grade 1,” said Rice. “I know that’s a tall task, so I think we should take baby steps.”

Rice also saddled Chester and Mary Broman’s multiple graded stakes-placed New York-bred Arctic Arrogance to a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino where the Frosted colt contested the pace and was passed at the top of the stretch by the top-three trio of Dreamlike, Hit Show, and the victorious Lord Miles. 

Rice said Arctic Arrogance was brave in defeat, but demonstrated his distance limitations as he failed to hit the board for the first time in seven career starts. 

“He’s good this morning, and I think he’s really just best at a mile,” Rice said. “I’m sure he could win at a mile and an eighth against a little easier group, but not Kentucky Derby contenders.” 

Arctic Arrogance, who finished second in three Kentucky Derby preps at the Big A this winter, will now turn his attention to shorter races, which could include the Grade 2, $500,000 Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill Downs, or the one-mile Grade 3, $200,000 Dwyer on July 1 at Belmont with a start in the seven-furlong state-bred Mike Lee on May 29 as a springboard. 

“We could give him a little break and use the Mike Lee as a prep for the flat mile in July,” Rice said. “There’s also the Pat Day Mile, so there’s options for him. He’s had a good campaign and shows up every time. He’ll get his day in the sun.” 


Hit Show game in defeat in G2 Wood Memorial

Gary and Mary West’s Hit Show came up just shy of victory in the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino for trainer Brad Cox, but ran admirably according to Cox’s Belmont Park-based assistant Dustin Dugas. 

“He came back great this morning. He had some jostling in the first turn and down the stretch, but he battled on well and it was a good race,” said Dugas. “He ran really well, so I’m happy with him.”

Hit Show, who won the Grade 3 Withers in February at the Big A, rallied from fifth-of-12 under Manny Franco to make up ground with every stride into the stretch of the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial and was set down for the drive to the wire between Dreamlike and the victorious longshot Lord Miles. Hit Show was squeezed and bumped by his two rivals and came up a nose shy of Lord Miles, prompting Franco to lodge an objection against Paco Lopez, the pilot of Lord Miles. An additional stewards' inquiry into the stretch run resulted in no change to the order of finish. 

Dugas said Hit Show is scheduled to leave for Churchill Downs tomorrow. The son of Candy Ride currently boasts 60 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, good enough to ensure him a place in the starting gate for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 6 at the Louisville oval. 

Dugas also reported Gold Square’s graded stakes-placed Slip Mahoney emerged from the Wood Memorial in good order after he finished a troubled sixth, 7 1/4 lengths behind Lord Miles. The Arrogate colt brushed with rivals into the first turn and steadied sharply heading into the backstretch, tracking along the rail before swinging four-wide in the far turn and putting in a mild bid. He entered the Wood from a game runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Gotham on March 4 at Aqueduct. 

“Slip tried to make a mild rally after all that, but he’s tiny and that incident in the turn took a lot of wind out of his sails,” said Dugas. “He came back in good shape this morning, but he’s pretty tired. We’ll regroup and fight another day.”


Pletcher's Big A brigade in good order after Saturday stakes engagements

Todd Pletcher’s Belmont-based assistant Byron Hughes reported that the Hall of Famer’s Kentucky Derby and Oaks aspirants exited their Saturday stakes efforts at Aqueduct Racetrack in good shape. 

In the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino, Pletcher was represented by Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable-owned maidens Dreamlike [third] and Crupi [ninth] as well as Whisper Hill Farm’s dual winner Classic Catch [fifth]. Pletcher also ran the duo of multiple graded stakes placed Gambling Girl [2nd] and Frosty O Toole [6th] in the Grade 3, $250,000 Gazelle.

“Everybody came back in good shape this morning. They were bright and alert this morning and were jogging up sound,” Hughes said.

In rounding out the trifecta under jockey Jose Ortiz, Dreamlike earned 30 points towards the Kentucky Derby, putting him at No. 30 on the leaderboard. Classic Catch earned the minimum allotment of 10 points.

Dreamlike, by Gun Runner, entered the Wood Memorial off a pair of runner-up efforts against maiden company at Gulfstream Park. 

“It was big. He was still green,” Hughes commented. “Jose said he was still waiting on horses there down the stretch, so hopefully he’ll put it all together and really take it to the next level. I think the blinkers helped, but he’s still a little green so hopefully one day he’ll figure it out.”

Gambling Girl, owned by Repole Stable, is currently 11th on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 61 total points which would provide her with a spot in the 14-horse maximum event. She earned 40 points from her runner-up finish in the Gazelle and earned qualifying points when fourth in the Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park as well as with respective second and third-place finishes in Aqueduct’s Busanda and Grade 2 Demoiselle. She is by Dialed In and was bred in the Empire State by Gallagher’s Stud. 


Lezcano incurs broken bone in right hand

Jockey Jose Lezcano, who was unseated from his mount, Autumn, during Race 2 on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack, suffered a broken bone in his right hand according to his agent Jason Beides.

Lezcano was transported to Jamaica Medical Center Hospital for evaluation after the fall and Beides said an update on any time off required will be provided later this week after further review of the veteran rider's x-rays.

Lezcano was unseated after his mount clipped heels in the stretch run of the six-furlong turf sprint. Manny Franco, piloting Lady Laoban, was also unseated after angling into the rail to avoid the fallen horse. Franco rode the remainder of the card, including a narrow runner-up effort in the Wood Memorial aboard Hit Show.

Autumn was collared by the outrider and walked back, while Lady Laoban was provided with a precautionary ride home in the equine ambulance. Lady Laoban was reported to be in good order Sunday by trainer Jorge Abreu.

According to Equibase, Lezcano, a three-time Breeders’ Cup winner, has won 3,138 races for purse earnings in excess of $176 million.


G1 Carter runner-up Repo Rocks may point to G3 Westchester

Double B Racing Stables’ Repo Rocks saw his four-race all-stakes win streak come to an end after a runner-up effort in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets.

Trained by Jamie Ness and piloted by Andrew Wolfsont, the 5-year-old Tapiture gelding stalked from fourth position and made a five-wide run to finish second, 1 1/4-lengths back of the victorious Doppelganger, who closed stoutly down the lane into splits of 22.40, 44.84 and 1:09.78 set by Today’s Flavor.

Ness said he was proud of the effort from Repo Rocks, who nosed out Expressman to earn place honors. The dark bay gelding returned to his Parx base following Saturday's test.

"I think he's better going a little bit longer. Andrew had to really work to keep up with that speed and maybe that took a bit of his kick away,” Ness said. “Maybe, in hindsight, we take a little more hold and make one run at the end. He was a little wide on the turn but the winner was a little bit better.

“He didn't have the big close like he's shown before," Ness added. "The jock said maybe yesterday just wasn't his day and he still gutted it out for second, so we're proud of him for that. So far, so good with him this morning. No issues."

Repo Rocks had been undefeated since joining the Ness stable, capturing the 6 1/2-furlong Let’s Give Thanks in November and six-furlong Blitzen on January 4 at Parx ahead of an 8 1/2-length score in the seven-furlong Grade 3 Toboggan on January 28 at the Big A that garnered a 111 Beyer Speed Figure.

He entered from an impressive 3 1/4-length score in the one-mile Stymie here on February 25, overcoming traffic trouble and drawing off to a strong win.

Ness said Repo Rocks could target the one-mile Grade 3, $175,000 Westchester on May 5 at Belmont.

"That's probably a better route for us. We'll put that on the horizon and work back from there and see if it works," Ness said.

Bred by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, III, Repo Rocks, out of the Not For Love mare Hawaiian Love, boasts a record of 34-8-7-6 for purse earnings of $699,621. 

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More Notes

Jockey Manny Franco approaching milestone 2,000th career victory
Sep 22, 2023
Jockey Manny Franco approaching milestone 2,000th career victory

NYRA Press Ofiice

Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized from September 15 through October 15. As the 31-day celebration continues, Puerto Rico native Manny Franco, the current leading rider on the NYRA circuit for the year, is soon to reach a major milestone as he closes in on his 2,000th career victory, boasting 1,973 wins [including 21 in Puerto Rico per Equibase stats] heading into Friday’s card at Belmont at the Big A.