by Mary Eddy
Gainseway Stable’s Kentucky homebred Memorialize pounced from off the pace in deep stretch to collar pacesetter Awesome Czech and earn her first stakes triumph in Friday’s $120,000 Tepin, a one-mile inner turf test for juvenile fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Graham Motion, the Karakontie chestnut improved from a last-out fifth when racing wide in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo on October 4 to earn her first conquest again winners, adding to a second-out maiden victory in August at Saratoga Race Course.
“Last time was really disappointing, I was hoping that she was my Breeders’ Cup horse,” said Motion. “Things didn’t pan out that day, and with these 2-year-olds you only get one prep and that’s it. There were different conditions today and I think she was much more settled.”
Expertly piloted by Manny Franco, Memorialize emerged from post 2 and settled mid-pack as Awesome Czech bounded to the front while the Javier Castellano-piloted Gold Lightning put slight pressure on the pacesetter through an opening quarter-mile in 24.06 seconds over the firm footing.
Memorialize was held in third down the backstretch as the two pacesetters opened up on their rivals and Artemis Girl skimmed the rail to the inside of Memorialize. Franco peeked back to see an advancing Artemis Girl and asked his mount for more as Being Betty ranged up on the outside through the half-mile in 48.99.
Rounding the turn, Memorialize put a neck ahead of Artemis Girl after three-quarters in 1:13.24 and was swung wide in pursuit of the top flight with Gold Lightning stalling in the three-path and Awesome Czech clinging to a precarious lead. Franco gave left-handed encouragement down the center of the course and switched to his right hand in the final sixteenth as Memorialize found enough late to nail Awesome Czech just before the wire and complete the course a neck in front in a final time of 1:36.57.
Awesome Czech held second by 1 3/4 lengths over Gold Lightning with Artemis Girl completing the superfecta. Being Betty and Voter Registration completed the order of finish. Living Magic, Brocknardini, Scorpia and main track-only entrants Most of All and Antenna were scratched.
Franco, who won his second stakes of the Aqueduct fall meet, said Memorialize was a tad green in the stretch.
“At the three-sixteenths pole, I said, 'come on, filly!' I felt that I had the horse to go by them, but she still didn't put it together,” Franco said. “From the sixteenth to the eighth pole, she leveled up and gave me what she had left.”
Franco added that an inside post and trip made a difference for Memorialize today.
“I had a wide trip the entire way [in the Miss Grillo],” said Franco. “Today, we got a good post inside and I tried to follow the right horses. In the backside, I put my filly in the two-three path and followed Javier [Castellano] and it was a matter of time. I think she's a nice filly. she just needs to put everything together."
Memorialize is the first foal produced from the stakes-placed Smart Strike mare Smart Emma. She earned $66,000 in victory, boosting her total purse earnings to $143,750 while returning $4.40 for a $2 win ticket.
Motion said Memorialize is likely to move south for her next outing.
“I’ll talk to Antony [Beck, of Gainesway Stable] about it,” said Motion. “I would imagine we’ll take her to Florida. She hasn’t had a hard campaign, so where we’ll start her, I’m not sure. But I do think we’ll be taking her to Florida.”
Kendrick Carmouche, aboard the Horacio De Paz-trained runner-up Awesome Czech, said he was proud of his filly’s effort.
“The horse ran awesome,” said Carmouche. “The best horse beat me. I wanted to be more aggressive with my filly and it worked out. Next year brings different challenges, we'll see what next year brings.”
Live racing resumes Saturday at Aqueduct with a 10-race program, featuring the $100,000 Notebook in Race 4, the Grade 2, $250,000 Hill Prince in Race 5, the $100,000 Key Cents in Race 7 and the $150,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship in Race 9. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall 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 fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.