Affirmed Success, an 8-year-old gelding ridden by Richard Migliore, came from off the pace Saturday to win the $108,200 Toboggan Handicap at Aqueduct by two lengths. This was the first victory in three starts this year for Affirmed Success, the oldest horse to ever win the Toboggan.
"When the three horses went for the lead, I didn't want to be stacked four-wide," explained Migliore. "I eased him back and tucked him in. When I put him in the clear, he kicked on for home and made the lead inside the eighth pole. He got to waiting a little bit and I was a little worried that Wrangler might be mounting a rally, so I rode him out probably a little more than I needed to. He's got so much experience, he was probably looking around going, `Relax, we've got it won.'"
Vodka was second in the field of six for 3-year-olds and up. Another neck behind in third was Multiple Choice. Wrangler, the favorite, trailed early and finished fourth. Run Kush Run and King's Messenger completed the order of finish.
"He's an amazing horse. He's quite a story," said winning trainer Richard Schosberg. "You just don't see horses maintain a level like this for so long. When you look at his race record, he's run two bad races. He got beat a nose in a $1 million race last year and lost the Breeders' Cup by three feet the race before. For him to run on turf, the soft, the wet, the dry -- it shows he's an amazing horse. He gets all the credit."
The win marks the 14th in 39 career starts for Affirmed Success, whose stakes wins include two grade Is, the Cigar Mile and Vosburgh Stakes, and four other graded stakes.
The winner carried co-highweight of 119 pounds and was timed for seven furlongs in 1:22.87 on a fast track. Affirmed Success returned $6, $4, and $4.10 and earned $70,920 for owner-breeder Albert Fried Jr. Vodka paid $7.10 and $7.60 and Multiple Choice returned $7.20 to show.
"We're going to nominate him to the Carter (gr. I, April 13th) and take a look at that," said Schosberg. "We've always done what's right for the horse and that's what we'll continue to do." (Chart, Equibase