The Big Torpedo fires along the rail to take $150K NYSSS Spectacular Bid
Stakes Recap
Jun 16, 2024
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The Big Torpedo fires along the rail to take $150K NYSSS Spectacular Bid

by Christian Abdo

Thomas Albrecht, Vincent Fusaro and James Klein’s dual stakes-placed The Big Torpedo became a stakes-winner with a late surge along the rail in Sunday’s $150,000 Spectacular Bid Division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, a six-furlong outer turf sprint for eligible state-sired sophomores, at Belmont at the Big A.

Trained by Tom Morley, the Big Torpedo was successful with a cut back in distance and a return to restricted company after a close second in the one-mile turf Woodhaven against open-company here on April 27.

Morley said a potential next start is a stretch back out to one-mile on turf in the $150,000 NYSSS Cab Calloway on July 18 at Saratoga Race Course.

“I hope you’ll see him at his best in the Cab Calloway in Saratoga. This was a question mark cutting back to six [furlongs], but he’s always shown plenty of speed – even in his long races,” said Morley. “I thought we would be in a good position. The pace wasn’t that frantic – 22 and 3 – which maybe helped us sit a little closer, but he’s just a good horse.”

Albrecht, Fusaro and Klein teamed up with Morley to notch their second score in this event after winning in 2021 with Ocala Dream. The Big Torpedo was previously dual-stakes placed, including the aforementioned Woodhaven and a third in the seven-furlong NYSSS Great White Way on the dirt in December.

Piloted by regular rider Eric Cancel, the Big Brown chestnut broke alertly from the inside post and covered up along the rail in third position behind the pacesetting Bustin Away, who led the field through an opening quarter-mile in 22.58 seconds over the firm turf while taking pressure from Courtly Banker a half-length back to his outside.

The Keiber Coa-piloted Bustin Away continued to lead by a head as Katie Davis applied more pressure aboard Courtly Banker entering the turn, with Grand Opening joining the front-end battle and The Big Torpedo saving ground along the rail in fourth position as the half-mile elapsed in 45.66.

Cancel said his patience during the early stages was rewarded today.

“I sat the right trip with him. I knew I didn’t have to be on the lead,” said Cancel. “I could just sit from behind. That’s what I did, and everything worked out to our favor.”

Around the turn, Courtly Banker challenged Bustin Away for the lead and the duo were head-and-head at the stretch call, with Cancel looking for room to close aboard The Big Torpedo and Grand Opening retreating. As the forwardly-placed pair traded punches, a window along the rail emerged and The Big Torpedo fired through at once, storming away to a 3 1/2-length victory in a final time of 1:08.83.

Cancel, who was aboard for his four previous starts including a 10-length maiden romp traveling a one-turn mile over muddy and sealed footing here on January 13, said today’s kick was strong enough to capitalize on a tight seam.

“I was waiting for the right time. As soon as the rail opened up just a bit more where I knew he would fit perfectly, I went for it,” Cancel said. “I had the horse underneath me and once I asked him, he responded very quick.”

Morley was in agreement that it was a well-timed move by Cancel and an equally good response from the talented New York-bred.

“I thought it was an extremely patient ride, but he [Cancel] had the utmost faith in this horse from the moment he sat on him for the first time. I thought he really executed that perfectly,” Morley said. “He was as patient as he needed to be and waited until the right hole came at the right time and off he went.”

Courtly Banker put a neck in front of Bustin Away for place-honors. Fidelightcayut rounded out the superfecta with Grand Opening, Heavyweight Champs, Retail Man, and Freedsdale completing the order of finish. Mama’s Dream was scratched.

Davis said the Barclay Tagg-trained Courtly Banker, who was the field’s lone maiden, was game to get by the speedy Bustin Away for second.

“When I switched my crop and went to the left hand he dug in a little bit more for me [to secure second],” said Davis. “He gave me his all and that made me really proud of him.”

Bred in the Empire State by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, out of the winning Empire Maker mare U. S. S. O’ Brien, The Big Torpedo banked $82,500 in victory while improving his record to 7-2-3-1. He returned $4.70 for a $2 win bet.

Racing resumes Thursday at Belmont at the Big A with the inaugural running of the Grade 1 Beverly R. Steinman in Race 1, a 2 3/8-mile steeplechase test for older horses. Post time on the nine-race card is 1:05 p.m. Eastern

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the Belmont at the Big A spring/summer meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Belmont at the Big A, and the best way to bet every race of the spring/summer meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at

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