Bishop Court Hill led all the way and held off Sir Greeley for a neck victory in the 106th running of the grade I, $300,000 Carter Handicap before 6,636 rain-soaked fans at Aqueduct Saturday.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for Melnyk Racing Stable, Bishop Court Hill broke sharply for jockey Jose Santos and set fractions of :22.13; :44.95 and 1:09.84 over the sloppy/sealed track. When Sir Greeley came late, he dug in to keep his neck ahead for the win in 1:23.27.
"It was a big race for him," Pletcher said. "He's a horse that has always had a great deal of talent, and it has been a little frustrating from time to time. It was good to see him dig in gamely today and hold on for the win. We'll keep him sprinting at six and seven furlongs."
It was the seventh win in 24 starts for Bishop Court Hill, a 6-year-old son of Holy Bull
-- Just Cuz (by Cormorant) bred in Kentucky by Pam duPont LLC.
The winner returned $18.00, $6.00, and $4.00, Sir Greeley was worth $3.80 and $2.70 for his runner-up effort, and Big Apple Daddy paid $3.90.
"The track is perfect for these kinds of horses," Santos said. "I just let him come out of there. He had great speed. He was a better horse today. The last sixteenth of a mile, he saw the other horses coming and he gave an extra effort. He was huge today."
"He didn't break very well," jockey Garret Gomez said of Sir Greeley. "I was never really happy where I was at all the way around the track. At the three-eighths pole, I finally got him moving a little bit and turning for home, I thought I was a winner. But I just couldn't get by the winner. He ran a good race overall. He was put in a predicament he was not used to being in. He had a lot of dirt kicked in his face, so he actually ran a pretty good race considering."
New York-bred Big Apple Daddy checked in third. Mass Media, the post-time favorite, beat only Happy Hunting and Call the Lord. Silver Train and Kazoo were scratched.
"I thought he was in a good spot," said Mass Media's jockey, Ramon Dominguez. "He just didn't seem to handle the surface in the last part of the race. That's the only thing I can come up with. He was doing fine until the quarter-pole and he just flattened out."