New York-bred millionaires Bankit and City Man score thrilling wins on Big Apple Showcase Day
by Keith McCalmont
Popular veterans Bankit and City Man each prevailed by narrow margins under jockey Joel Rosario on a special 10-race all state-bred card that featured six high-caliber stakes to celebrate the best of New York racing for Memorial Day Monday’s annual Big Apple Showcase Day at Belmont Park.
The patiently handled City Man [No. 6, $3.40*] rallied stoutly down the lane to nail Jerry the Nipper at the wire for a nose score in the $125,000 Kingston, a 1 1/16-mile inner turf test for older horses in Race 8.
Trained by Christophe Clement for owners Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Peter Searles and Patty Searles, the multiple graded stakes-winning 6-year-old Mucho Macho Man horse won for the 10th time of which all but his first-out maiden score came in stakes events.
“He seems to be getting a big fan base in New York and he’s run so consistent here, and he brings it every time,” said co-owner Dean Reeves.
City Man saved ground in sixth position as Rinaldi led through splits of 24.13 seconds and 47.70 over the firm footing with Jerry the Nipper tracking from second in front of the stalking Ocala Dream and Citizen K.
Jerry the Nipper got the jump on his rivals late in the turn and took command in mid-stretch as City Man waited for racing room. Jerry the Nipper looked to be home and cooled out, but a relentless City Man would not be denied the win, making up ground with every stride once clear to stop the clock in a final time of 1:39.46. Dakota Gold kicked in late to finish a half-length back in third with Ocala Dream, Citizen K, Rinaldi and Somelikeithotbrown rounding out the order of finish. Call Me Harry and Coinage were scratched.
“He’s a fun horse who wins a lot, I like it,” Clement said. “He always finishes well. Joel did his job. I train, he rides.”
Bred by Moonstar Farm, the millionaire City Man, winner of the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple and Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale last year, banked $68,750 in victory while improving his record to 29-10-5-4 for purse earnings of $1,079,870.
Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing's multiple graded stakes-placed millionaire Bankit [No. 6, $12.20] outlasted a resurgent Olympic Dreams to score a diminishing head victory in a thrilling renewal of the co-featured $200,000 Commentator, a 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds and up in Race 9.
Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the 7-year-old Central Banker bay notched his first win of the year with a stirring stretch drive to secure the $110,000 winner's share of the purse and improve his record to an impressive 40-9-12-6 for earnings in excess of $1.4 million.
Sea Foam surged to the lead from the outermost post 12 with Sheriff Bianco and Olympic Dreams tracking his early foot through a quarter-mile in 22.88 seconds over the fast main track as Bankit bided his time in fourth position. Olympic Dreams made an early move approaching the turn as Sea Foam clung to the lead and Sheriff Bianco continued to save ground.
Bankit made his move late in the turn and traveled past Sheriff Bianco, angling outside the pacesetters to take command at the stretch call and establish a clear lead. Inside the final furlong, Sheriff Bianco came off the rail in search of racing room and launched his wide bid, while Olympic Dreams came alive late in the lane to create a three-horse plunge to the wire. But Bankit, who won this race by 13 1/4-lengths in 2021, prevailed over Olympic Dreams in a final time of 1:43.01.
It was one length back to Sheriff Bianco in third with Dr Ardito, Whittington Park, Sea Foam, Prince of Pharoahs, Ouster, Two for Charging, Curlin’s Wisdom, Brooklyn Strong and Barese completing the order of finish. Shipsational was scratched.
“As soon as he took the lead, he waited on horses a little bit,” Rosario said. “Then I just had to keep riding and hopefully he would get ahead of them. That’s the way he runs I guess. It set up good and I kind of had to ride him a little bit – engage him a little and keep him in the race so he didn’t pack himself in there. I got a good trip and was able to come out and he went on. It looked like we were home and going to win by a couple [lengths], but he likes to just wait a lot when he passes the last horse.”
Bred by Hidden Brook Farm and Blue Devil Racing, Bankit, the 2021 New York-bred Champion Older Horse, has won eight stakes in a storied career that includes a pair of graded placings.
Robert and Lawana Low's graded-stakes winner Classy Edition [No. 4, $3.40*] stumbled after the start but was quickly in hand for jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. en route to a stalking score in the co-featured $200,000 Critical Eye, a 1 1/16-mile test for fillies and mares in Race 3.
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, the 4-year-old Classic Empire bay settled outside rivals in third position as stablemate Let Her Inspire U marked off splits of 23.87 and 47.11. Ortiz, Jr. gave Classy Edition her cue through the turn and Sterling Silver followed her outside bid under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.
Classy Edition was in command as the field straightened away and had plenty in reserve to hold off the game Sterling Silver for a 2 1/4-length score in a final time of 1:42.82. Timeless Journey was a further 8 3/4-lengths back in third with Venti Valentine, Let Her Inspire U and Ok Honey rounding out the order of finish.
Bred by Chester and Mary Broman, Classy Edition, a now four-time stakes winner purchased for $550,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, captured the Grade 3 Royal Delta in February at Gulfstream Park. She banked $110,000 victory while improving her record to 9-6-1-0.
The stakes action kicked off in the day’s opening race as Lady Sheila Stable's Downtown Mischief [No. 4, $4.40*] broke alertly under Jose Lezcano and posted a gate-to-wire score, staving off a stubborn Miracle to take the $125,000 Bouwerie, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies.
Trained by Linda Rice, the homebred daughter of Into Mischief set splits of 22.67 seconds and 45.65 over the fast main track with Miracle tracking from second position. Downtown Mischief kicked on strong at the top of the lane to lead by two lengths at the stretch call, but Miracle dug in and made a race of it finishing just one length back at the wire in a final time of 1:23.98. Midtown Lights finished third with Security Code and Les Bon Temps rounding out the order of finish.
Downtown Mischief, a four-time winner from five starts, banked $68,750 for her Bouwerie score. Out of the Speightstown mare Downtown Mama, Downtown Mischief made her first four starts at Aqueduct Racetrack and won her first three outings in six-furlong sprints culminating in a victory in the open-company Cicada in March. She was a prominent second last out in the open-company Memories of Silver when stretched out to a one-turn mile in a race contested over a sloppy and sealed main track.
Maker's Candy [No. 3, $6*] dug in gamely down the lane under Jose Ortiz, putting away the pacesetting Looms Boldly before turning back the charge of Radio Red to capture the $125,000 Mike Lee, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores in Race 4.
Trained by Mike Maker for owners Paradise Farms Corp., David Staudacher, Maxis Stable and John Huber, the Twirling Candy bay was off slow and raced in fifth in the early going before rushing up the rail to gain second position behind Looms Boldly, who set splits of 23.07 and 45.42.
Maker's Candy loomed large late in the turn before finally overtaking a spirited Looms Boldly at the sixteenth pole with enough in reserve – despite drifting out - to best the onrushing Radio Red by 2 1/2-lengths in a final time of 1:23.35.
Radio Red completed the exacta by three-quarters-of-a-length over Looms Boldly with What's Up Bro, Lifetime of Chance, Jackson Heights and Etnico completing the order of finish.
Maker's Candy, bred by Newtownanner Stud, graduated at second asking at the Big A and followed with a determined effort to cross the wire first in the Gander before being disqualified and placed second. The $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale purchase finished a distant fifth last out in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks on March 25 at Turfway Park.
Marvelous Maude [No. 5, $5.10*], with Ortiz, Jr. up, arrived in the final jumps to nose out Runaway Rumour and win her seasonal debut with a picture-perfect finish in the $125,000 Mount Vernon, a one-mile Widener turf test for older fillies and mares in Race 6.
Trained by Chad Brown for owner Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Gorup, and Michael J. Caruso, the 5-year-old Slumber mare banked $68,750 and earned her first stakes win, while improving her record to 12-5-3-2.
Freddymo Factor, a 66-1 longshot under Omar Hernandez Moreno, set swift splits while opening up a 6 1/2-length lead at the half-mile call over the tracking Sanura and Runaway Rumour as Marvelous Maude saved ground from fourth position. Sanura and Runaway Rumour overtook the pacesetter late in the turn and those two battled gamely before the latter took command with a sixteenth to run. Runaway Rumour looked to be clear, but a determined Marvelous Maude would not be denied with an outside run to stop the clock in a final time of 1:34.08.
Bred by Dubb’s Beechwood Bruckner, Marvelous Maude entered from a pair of close efforts in turf stakes starts won by returning rivals at Belmont at the Big A, finishing second in the John Hettinger [Finest Work] in September and fourth in the Ticonderoga [Runaway Rumour] last out in October.
Marvelous Maude is out of the three-time winning Warrior’s Reward mare Wait Your Turn, who was campaigned by Dubb and produced a foal so promising she inadvertently helped launch the stallion career of the Brown-trained Slumber, who won the 2015 Grade 1 Manhattan for an ownership group that included Dubb.
“I raced the mare and I remember she ran a  Beyer so she was kind of fast,” recalled Dubb. “The timing was such that we had retired Slumber to Calumet. I had a few breedings so I tried breeding Wait Your Turn to Slumber. A couple years went by and no one was breeding to Slumber and Calumet was getting ready to geld the horse.
“I showed Chad [Brown] a picture of the baby who is now Marvelous Maude and he sent it to Calumet, and they decided not to geld Slumber after all,” continued Dubb. “That is how Slumber became a stallion in New York. They were very close to gelding him and it was a picture of Marvelous Maude that saved him from being gelded.”
Live racing resumes Thursday at Belmont with a nine-race card. First post is 3:05 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the spring/summer meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
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