by NYRA Press Office
Patternrecognition rewarded trainer Chad Brown and owners Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence for their patience with a Grade 1 breakthrough in Saturday's $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct Racetrack.
A $420,000 purchase at the 2015 Ocala Breeders' Sale, Patternrecognition made a winning debut in April of his 4-year-old season at Aqueduct, where he is perfect in three starts, and has campaigned successfully but sparingly as Brown built the foundation on a horse that possessed an abundance of natural talent.
Brown, who captured his first Cigar Mile in 2016 with Connect, praised his staff, including assistant trainer Whit Beckman, for their perseverance.
"The Cigar Mile is a great race to win and we're lucky to have won it now for a second time. He's a horse that really earned it and everyone in the barn here with Whit has done a great job with the horse, keeping him sound," said Brown. "He didn't get started until he was 4, so he's clearly had some physical setbacks. But he's now in good form and has been healthy thanks to a lot of hard work from my team, and a lot of heart and determination from the horse."
Patternrecognition, who boosted his career earnings to $812,325, earned a 105 Beyer Speed Figure for his winning effort in the Cigar Mile.
Brown said that the Grade 1, $9 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on January 26 is a consideration for Patternrecognition, who has now won three of five starts this season, including a victory in the Grade 2 Kelso on September 22 at Belmont Park.
"The owners and I talked about the Pegasus last night. It's definitely a consideration," said Brown.
Brown, who noted that all of his New York-based horses were sound and in good order this morning, said that Patternrecognition will now head to Palm Meadows in Florida.
A strong showing at Aqueduct on Saturday for Brown included a second in the Grade 2 Remsen with Network Effect and a third in the Grade 3 Go For Wand with Pacific Wind. And Brown built on that success later in the evening as Raging Bull and Instilled Regard ran first and third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar.
Mendelssohn, trained by Aidan O'Brien, earned a 100 Beyer for his fourth-place finish in the Cigar Mile as the beaten favorite. The well-traveled Scat Daddy colt tracked along the rail in third but failed to threaten the pacesetting Patternrecognition.
"I was a little bit disappointed, but he's had a long year and I guess it's to be expected," said O'Brien assistant T.J. Comerford, on Sunday morning. "It's probably the latest we've ever run a horse after campaigning all the time in America. He was showing signs up to the race of being fresh, but I suppose it took its toll on the day."
A half-brother to champion mare Beholder and leading sire Into Mischief, Mendelssohn captured the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf to complete his 2-year-old campaign and showed main-track talent with an 18 ½-length score in the Group 2 UAE Derby in March.
Following a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby, Mendelssohn made three starts in New York, finishing third in the Grade 3 Dwyer, second in the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers and third in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. He arrived at the Cigar Mile from a fifth-place run in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic.
Comerford said that Mendelssohn was in good order on Sunday following his Cigar Mile effort.
"He's grand. He's that type of horse. He's a hearty devil," said Comerford.
Coolmore America announced on Sunday that Mendelssohn has been retired from racing and will stand at Coolmore America's Ashford Stud for 2019.
"All of our team loved Mendelssohn from the first time we saw him as a yearling and he has developed into a magnificent looking horse," said Coolmore America manager Dermot Ryan.
Mendelssohn will stand for a fee of $35,000.
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Top-three Remsen finishers excited for future prospects
One day after posting a win in his stakes debut in the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen, trainer Robert Reid, Jr. said Maximus Mischief came out of his 2 ¼-length score in good order and shipped back well to his home base at Parx in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.
"It looked like he came out of the race perfectly and made good time, he was safely back in his stall by 9 p.m. or so," Reid said. "He was a little tired, but he's on his toes this morning."
Owned by Cash is King Stable and LC Racing, Maximus Mischief improved to 3-for-3 to start his career. The Into Mischief colt won his debut with an 8 ¾-length win in a 5 ½-furlong sprint on September 29 at Parx before winning by six lengths at seven furlongs over the same track October 20.
Stretching out to the Remsen distance of 1 1/8 miles and two turns, Maximus Mischief handled the new challenges with aplomb, earning a 97 Beyer Speed Figure and also netting 10 qualifying points towards the Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs.
"The most impressive part was how he acted in the paddock and all the prerace stuff, because he can be a handful in the paddock," Reid said. "In his new surroundings, he handled it very well. He stood perfectly in the paddock, which at Aqueduct can be a little foreboding. He handled it great and was cool as a cucumber and stood there perfectly when we put the tack on him. I was pretty confident with the way things were going to go after that."
Out of the gate, Maximus Mischief, under jockey Frankie Pennington, dueled Gladiator King for the early speed before eventually taking command by the half-mile mark. In the stretch, he dug in against the Chad Brown-trained Network Effect, who was the field's lone graded stakes veteran in having finished second in the Grade 3 Nashua on November 4 at the Big A.
"Frankie did a great job riding him. He didn't worry about the horses inside or outside of him," Reid said. "Once he switched leads and opened up, I felt really good about it."
After a brief respite, Maximus Mischief's conditioner said the $340,000 purchase will be headed for warmer temperatures and what is hopefully a bright sophomore year.
"We're going to give him a little break but then we'll be heading down to Florida," Reid said. "We'll be heading down to Gulfstream Park in the next few weeks and get him used to the weather down there and get him ready to start his 3-year-old campaign."
Klaravich Stables' Network Effect garnered four points for the 2019 Kentucky Derby with his runner-up finish when he edged Tax by a half-length. The Mark Valeski colt won his first race on August 11 at Saratoga before taking the jump in class in running second to Vekoma in the Nashua.
Brown said Network Effect, the even-money favorite who rallied from fifth, has talent but is looking to take the next step.
"He ran spotty a little bit in the race," Brown said. "He was in a pretty good position and in the final turn it looked like the eventual winner got away from him a little bit, but late in the race he was starting to gain on him. I thought the winner ran terrific and our horse ran very respectable. He's a work in progress."
Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable's Tax made a splash for trainer Danny Gargan in his first race for the conditioner since being claimed for $50,000 on October 21 at Keeneland, where he had a maiden-breaking, two-length win for then-trainer Ben Colebrook.
Tax's third-place finish earned him two qualifying points for the "Run for the Roses" and his black type performance in his first stakes start resulted in a 93 Beyer.
"I thought he ran huge. We were expecting a big performance; he's a really good-looking horse," Gargan said. "He ran really well and the [speed] number came back tremendous, we're really excited about that. He came out of the race great."
Tax, who has trained at Belmont Park, will likely be kept in New York, said Gargan, who left open the possibility he could run in the $150,000 Jerome for newly minted 3-year-olds on New Year's Day at the Big A.
"He has a really big future. We'll keep him in New York and evaluate him and see where our next stakes spot will be. There's a big chance he'll run next at Aqueduct but if not, there's a couple of different options."
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Baffert looking to stretch out Marley's Freedom following Go For Wand
With Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith up, Marley's Freedom successfully stretched out to a mile for the first time to win the Grade 3, $250,000 Go For Wand on Saturday.
On Sunday morning, trainer Bob Baffert reported that the multiple graded stakes winning filly exited her race in good order.
"She ran a great race," said Baffert via telephone from Santa Anita Park on Sunday. "She got out of the gate a tad slow, but Mike made the right decision to get her involved and up front afterward."
Notching her fourth graded stakes win of the year in the Go For Wand, the 4-year-old Blame filly successfully rebounded after finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 3 at Churchill Downs.
"She's a horse that really thrives on racing," said Baffert. "I wish I had run her in a prep before she ran in the Breeders Cup, but we knew she had no problems shipping and she had shipped to New York before to win a Grade 1 [Saratoga Race Course, Ballerina, August 25], so we didn't worry then and I'm just happy she ran her race."
Going forward, Baffert said he would like to continue to stretch Marley's Freedom out in distance.
"Entering this race, we thought she would be effective at a mile, and looking at the final time I think she ran a little faster," said Baffert. "I'd like to eventually target her towards going 1 1/8 miles but this is certainly a good start. She's always game, so we're excited about her prospects in the future."
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Martin encouraged by Come Dancing's valiant effort
After Come Dancing finished a game second to multiple graded stakes winner Marley's Freedom in Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000 Go For Wand, trainer Carlos Martin beamed with approval on the game effort given by the 4-year-old filly.
"She ran great. She ran her heart out," said Martin. "I don't think I've ever had a horse beaten that ran a 101 Beyer, but she really gave her all. It took a horse to come all the way out from California to beat us, so it really was an encouraging effort."
Martin said that Come Dancing exited the race in good order and will now have to decide on whether to keep the talented daughter of Malibu Moon at seven furlongs targeting the Grade 3, $150,000 Distaff Handicap on April 5 with perhaps a further long-range goal of the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park in mind.
"Our goal was to always target the Go For Wand following the Beldame," said Martin. "I thought she ran a solid race in the Beldame, despite finishing fifth, and coming in I thought we had a major chance. I was a little surprised she was 9-1 on the board, but she certainly outran her odds.
"She's lightly raced, so I'm not sold on seven furlongs to a mile being the best distance for her," he added. "With a lot of these Malibu Moon horses, they seem to get better with age and I think I can successfully stretch her out to 1 1/8 miles. So, perhaps you'll see her return in April for the Distaff or maybe around the opening week at Belmont with the Ogden Phipps in mind later in the meet."
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Afleet Destiny gives St. Lewis another good day in New York
Afleet Destiny has emerged from her runner-up finish in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle in fine fettle according to her trainer Uriah St. Lewis, who is quickly developing a propensity for sending out long shots to hit the board in New York stakes races from his Pennsylvania base.
Positive Spirit put in the most dominant performance of Cigar Mile Day in the Demoiselle, registering a lopsided 10 ½-length victory over six other 2-year-old fillies in the 96th edition of the race, with Afleet Destiny rallying from the back of the pack to finish 2 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Filly Joel.
Afleet Destiny, off at 26-1, came out of the race well and will now point to the series of stakes races NYRA offers as a stepping stone to the Kentucky Oaks, likely starting with the $150,000 Busanda on February 3 at Aqueduct, according to St. Lewis.
"She came out of the race fantastic," said the trainer. "This particular filly has some real ability, we just needed to go long. We knew once she got going two turns, she would show her true path, and she wasn't even tight enough. She came out and ate good, so we'll give her a couple weeks off then train toward the Busanda. We're going to stay in New York with her."
Lover put the Trinidadian horseman squarely on the map this year with his breakthrough victory in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, to go along with a win in the Grade 3 Excelsior at the Big A and third-place finishes in the Grade 1 Whitney and Grade 2 Suburban at Saratoga Race Course and Belmont, respectively.
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NYRA Bets members eligible for bonus all December
Every day during the month of December, NYRA Bets members who place wagers at Aqueduct Racetrack will receive a three percent rebate on all wagers made, win or lose.
NYRA Bets members on the points structure will be credited weekly every Tuesday on all wagers made at the Big A in the previous week. NYRA Bets members on the cash rebate rewards structure will continue to receive their current rebate percentage for Aqueduct during the month of December. The three percent promotion will be a separate bonus of the earned rebate payable within 72 hours at the close of every month.
Canceled wagers and bets canceled due to scratches will not count toward the total to receive the bonus. Promotion dates for the three percent December bonus is from December 1 - 31. There is no cap on the bonus. Bonus credit earned during the promotion must be wagered a minimum of one time prior to becoming eligible for withdrawal.
For more information on the NYRA Bets December three percent bonus and to become a NYRA Bets member, please visit NYRABets.com.