Party Boat prevails in Memories of Silver; Gold for the King triumphs in Times Square
by Najja Thompson/Brian Bohl
With a ground saving trip from Joel Rosario in the irons, Party Boat rallied past Team of Teams in the final jumps to capture Sunday's $100,000 Memories of Silver on closing day at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Breaking from post 2, Party Boat was tucked comfortably in third-position along the rail as Team of Teams, who broke alertly, quickly established herself in front from the field of six, setting fractions of 24.47 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with a half going in 48.87.
At the quarter-pole, Rosario guided Party Boat from the rail into the two-path as the pair hooked up in the upper stretch. Under a full drive, Party Boat dug in, extending away from a very game Team of Teams to secure the victory by one length.
The final time for the 1 1/16 mile race was 1:42.05 on a firm turf course.
"I got clear turning for home and I was just trying to hold it together," said Rosario. "She responded very nicely with a nice finish. The seven [Team of Teams] and the one [Dynatail] put in an honest pace. It wasn't too fast; it was just right. She put in a good finish today."
Entering off a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream, the Graham Motion-trained Party Boat returned $9.30 for a $2 win wager and increased her career earnings to $183,825 for winning owner Ms. Hope Haskell Jones.
Following Team of Teams in second was Fifty Five, Dynatail, Super Marina and Art Institute.
In Race 8, Gold for the King overtook T Loves a Fight in the stretch to make his 3-year-old debut successful in winning the $100,000 Times Square for 3-year-olds - part of the New York Stallion Series - in the final stakes race of the Big A spring meet.
Off as the 8-5 post-time favorite, Gold for the King, who started for the first time since December 17, set off Italian Syndicate's fractions of 22.78 seconds for a quarter-mile and the half in 45.27.
Gold for the King, who had a shoe repaired in the paddock, went four-wide out of the turn and jockey Joel Rosario urged him near the eighth pole and outkicked T Loves a Fight in the final furlongs to win by 1 ¾ lengths, completing 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.53.
"I had a great trip," said Rosario, who rode four winners on the day. "Charlie told me to wait as long as I can and make one run at the end. I tried to wait as long as I could and she came with a very nice run."
Gold for the King paid $5.20 on a $2 win wager and increased his career earnings to $370,568. The Charlton Baker trainee went 3-for-6 in 2016, including wins in the New York Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes and the Notebook on November at the Big A against New York breds.
Baker said Gold for the King could face open company and also said he is targeting the Mike Lee on May 29 for his next start.
"He's a nice horse and he can overcome anything. He did everything OK. He has a big, long stride so once he got going, he was clear. We had enough pace in there where he was going to be OK. It was a pretty decent race coming back off the layoff."
T Loves a Fight was the runner-up in his stakes debut for trainer Michael Hushion.
Reason to Soar, Italian Syndicate, Bavaro, Mission Leader and Jamie's Angel completed the order of finish. Duquesne Whistle was scratched.
Racing will return with the 54-day spring/summer meet at Belmont Park on Friday, April 28. First post time is set for 1:30 p.m. and admission gates will open at 11:30 a.m. General admission is $5 and general parking is free.