Shaker Shack shows grit in $200K NYSSS Park Avenue
by Ryan Martin
Roddy Valente and Darlene Bilinski’s Shaker Shack fended off a stretch challenge from Shesadirtydancer to capture the 28th running of the $200,000 Park Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The dark bay or brown daughter of Bustin Stones, who stands at Waldorf Farm for $2,500, arrived at the 6 ½-furlong event for eligible New York-sired sophomore fillies off a sharp second-place finish to next out winner Betsy Blue on a muddy Big A main track on March 25.
Exiting post 5 under Jose Ortiz, who was crowned leading rider of the 11-day boutique Aqueduct spring meet, Shaker Shack broke sharply and matched strides with Laura’s Bellamy to her inside as the pair went a swift 22.07 seconds for the opening quarter-mile over the fast main track.
Around the far turn, the leaders were met with a new challenger as Shesadirtydancer loomed large from the three path. Laura’s Bellamy relinquished as the field reached the quarter-pole leaving Shaker Shack and Shesadirtydancer by themselves on the front end. The two fillies duked it out until Shaker Shack edged clear inside the sixteenth-pole and secured the 1 ½-length victory in a final time of 1:17.75.
A late-rallying Bustin Bay finished another four lengths back in third. Laura’s Bellamy, Jill’s A Hot Mess and 3-5 post time favorite Laobanonaprayer completed the order of finish.
The triumph provided veteran conditioner Patrick Reynolds with his first stakes win since Baby J captured the Catinca in October 2013 at Belmont Park.
Reynolds said Trevor McCarthy, who piloted Shaker Shack in her three prior starts, suggested the addition of blinkers for the Park Avenue.
“We worked her out of the gate and Trevor suggested that [adding blinkers]. Jose is so good out of the gate and he knows how to relax them. The blinkers helped,” Reynolds said. “She's not one of those horses who comes over here prancing and dancing and really tough. I put the rider up and she's all business.
“She's a perfect filly to have and easy to train,” Reynolds added. “The owners have been terrific. They bred her and she's part of the New York program. It was their decision to come here and I went along with it. I knew the 1-horse [Laobanonaprayer] was tough, but it was a little short for her. We got away and hung on and won.”
Reynolds said Shaker Shack shows similar determination during morning training.
“Even in her workouts, she would hang in there with $50,000 horses before she ever ran,” Reynolds said. “I worked her with an older horse before I ran her and she was game all the way.”
Ortiz concurred that blinkers moved Shaker Shack up.
“The blinkers helped a lot,” Ortiz said. “A lot of credit to Trevor who told me that the blinkers would help her a lot, and they did. Patrick did an amazing job like he always does. He doesn’t have a lot of horses, but I sure love to ride for him.”
Shaker Shack more than doubled her lifetime earnings to $156,445 through a 5-2-2-0 record.
Bred in the Empire State by Roddy Valente and Dr. Jerry Bilinksi, Shaker Shack is out of the Disco Rico mare Disco Shaker, making her a full-sister to stakes-winner Bustin Out.
Live racing resumes on Thursday for Opening Day of the spring/summer meet at beautiful Belmont Park with an eight-race program. First post is 1:00 p.m. Eastern.