Boston Park led from wire to wire and beat Grey Comet by a length in Saturday's 24th running of the $81,350 Whirlaway Stakes for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct. Under 116 pounds including jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, Boston Park completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.74 on the fast inner track to earn $48,810 for Overbrook Farm.
"I wanted to sit two or three lengths off, but he broke so sharp, I didn't want to discourage him," said Bridgmohan. "He really gave me everything he had. They took some runs at him on the backstretch and late in the stretch and he dug in."
Peter Hutton, assistant to trainer D. Wayne Lukas, agreed that the front-end running style was not the plan.
"I talked to Wayne this morning and he wanted the horse about three or four lengths off the lead early, but when they broke, he just grabbed Shaun and took him to the front," said Hutton. "He was pretty brave in the stretch. I was impressed."
Boston Park finished a length ahead of second betting choice Grey Comet, with Go Rockin' Robin 2 1/4 lengths farther back in third. Mustang Jock, favored Torre and Zim, and Formidable Fox completed the order of finish.
"I wanted to be on the lead, but we got pinched coming out of the gate and I couldn't get him through the hole," said Torre and Zim's jockey C.C. Lopez. "I grabbed a hold of him and sat, but when I asked him, he just never got going."
The winner returned $16.40, $7.00 and $4.60. Grey Comet paid $4.80 and $3.00. Go Rockin' Robin was worth $4.50 to show. The winning exacta combination paid $54.
Boston Park (Boston Harbor -- Maple Creek, by Forty Niner) won for the first time since an allowance victory at Churchill Downs last June. In seven stakes starts since that allowance win, Boston Park's best performances were a third-place finish in the Sapling (gr. III) in August at Monmouth Park and a close-up fourth in the Iroquois at Churchill last November. The Overbrook Farm homebred has now won three of 11 career starts.