Lovely Amanda, Beautiful America, Haggs Castle and Grey Comet won divisions of the New York Stallion Stakes at Aqueduct Sunday.The New York Stallion Series, Perfect Arc Division (Fillies and mares at 1 mile on the turf):
John Velazquez and Lovely Amanda waited patiently for an opening along the rail and they used it to win the Perfect Arc Division of the New York Stallion Series.
Velazquez anticipated that frontrunner Ma Femme, under Julio Pezua, would come off the rail in the stretch.
"You know he is going to come out once we straighten away," Velazquez said. "He does it every time. All you've got to do is sit off of him and thankfully I got into good spot down the backstretch. She was very game."
Wootie, under Jerry Bailey, caught Dat You Miz Blue, under Jose Santos, at the wire to create a dead-heat for second.
Dat You Miz Blue was the 7-5 favorite and the 124-pound high weight. Said Santos: "The turf course is a little deep and she was carrying a lot of weight. Johnny (Velazquez) was able to go inside and I was stuck on the outside."
Lovely Amanda was the 5-1 third choice in the 11-horse race. She paid $12.60 to win.
"It was nice to see her win," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "She's one of those fillies who runs well on either surface. She liked the ground today and Johnny gave her a dynamite ride, which really made the difference."
Lovely Amanda - a 5-year-old chestnut mare by Belong to Me, out of Love Alleged (Alleged) - earned $60,000 for Robert Pierz and Peter McCann. She is now 8-5-4 from 24 starts with earnings of $376,450. The New York Stallion Series, Fifth Avenue Division (2-year-old fillies at 6 Furlongs:
Beautiful America won her third consecutive statebred stakes race to take a stranglehold of the New York juvenile filly division.
She paid $2.80 to win the Fifth Avenue Division of the New York Stallion Stakes as the heavy 2-5 favorite.
"Good horses can win at any distance, especially when they have more quality than the rest of the field," said winning trainer Mike Hernandez.
Beautiful America earned $75,000 for Chester and Mary Broman with the victory. She is now 4-0-1 from five starts with earnings of $225,208.
"She acted up a little bit before her race at Belmont last time, but she was behaved today," Santos said. "She's just better than this field. I put her into the race early and she responded when I asked her."
Beautiful America burst to the front from the outside No. 9 post. She set fractions of :22 3/5, :46 and :58 1/5 as she slowly made her way to the rail. She opened up in the stretch to win the 6-furlong sprint in 1:10 2/5 without urging.
Beautiful America - a dark bay juvenile filly by Dixie Brass, out of Eyeofbeauty (Bounding Basque) - was bred by Thomas C. Ryba.
"She's a very nice horse," Hernandez said. "She was very strong in the stretch. I hope she turns out to be like (2001 Eclipse Award winning 3-Year-Old Filly) Xtra Heat. I think she can go any distance. Her grandfather, Bounding Basque won at many distances."The New York Stallion Series, Cormorant Division (3 year olds and up at 1 mile on the turf):
Mike Luzzi saved more than enough gas for the stretch run and rode Haggs Castle to an impressive victory in the Cormorant Division of the New York Stallion Stakes.
"Mike rode a great race on him," said winning trainer James Jerkens. "He saved ground, kept him on the bit and when he saw an opening, he went for it."
At the top of the stretch, frontrunner Justoneofdaboyz - who had set moderate fractions of :24, :48 3/5 and 1:13 4/5 - was passed by No White Flags on the rail and Haggs Castle on the outside. Haggs Castle had the greater acceleration and drew off to win the race by 2 ¾ lengths. No White Flags, under Heberto Castillo Jr., finished third after getting caught by second-place Chasin' Wimmin and Jean-Luc Samyn.
Haggs Castle completed the mile in 1:39 2/5 over a yielding turf course. He paid $9.40 to win.
"The field bunched up at the half mile pole and things just opened up from there," Luzzi said. "We were concerned about the mile, but we had a trip and a half today. He's a good horse and we had some luck."
Owners John Confort and Albert Weiss earned $60,000 for the victory.
Haggs Castle - a 4-year-old gelding by Husband, out of Final Accord (D'Accord) - improved his career record to 5-3-2 from 19 starts with earnings of $234,565. He was sold at the 1999 Saratoga Preferred Yearling Sale for $55,000 by breeders O'Connor, Calandro and Kaskel.
"He probably won't run again this year, but I'll keep him in light training through the winter," Jerkens said. "Last year we turned him out and it took a while to get him back to his best."
Trial Prep, the 9-5 favorite, finished last in the 12-horse field. "The turf's not for him," said jockey John Velazquez. "Things didn't work out for us."The New York Stallion Series, $125,000 Great White Way Division (2-year-olds at 6 Furlongs):
Grey Comet kept his two-race career perfect when he went to the front and set all of the fractions to win the 6-furlong Great White Way Division of the New York Stallion Stakes in 1:11 under Jose Santos.
Grey Comet started his career with a 6-furlong off-the-pace maiden victory on Oct. 12 at Belmont Park. This stakes victory was worth $75,000 for owner-breeder Star Track Farms.
"I thought he was a man amongst boys," said winning trainer Gary Contessa. "He's just a good horse and I thought he'd be better than what was in here."
Grey Comet paid $6.20 as the second choice.
"He broke so good and I didn't want to take anything away from him so I let him run," Santos said. "He wasn't going to let anyone by him."
The Einar P. Robsham 8-5 favorite entry completed the top three: second-place Ruby's Pro earned $25,000 and third-place Polish Jewel earned $13,750.
Said Shaun Bridgmohan, who rode second-place Ruby's Pro: "He had aim on that horse, but couldn't get by. He was very game."
Grey Comet - a juvenile gray/roan colt by Distinctive Pro, out of Jack Betta Be Rite (Jacques Who) - now has earnings of $100,800.