Pocus Hocus Changes Tactics, Takes 'Alarm

Pocus Hocus Changes Tactics, Takes 'Alarm
Photo: AP/NYRA Adam Coglianese
Pocus Hocus comes from behind to win the Alarm, Saturday at Aqueduct.
Because Pocus Hocus has a bad habit of waiting on other horses when she gets the lead, trainer Jimmy Jerkens and jockey Jose Santos allowed her to play catch up in Saturday's $107,500 Turnback The Alarm Handicap (gr. III). The result was a resounding 5 ¼-length victory over Nonsuch Bay for John and Susan Moore's 5-year-old grey/roan mare.

Miss Linda and jockey Richard Migliore took the lead from the rail as Santos and overlooked Pocus Hocus targeted the front-runner through a pace of :24 2/5; :49; 1:13 3/5. When Santos gave his mount the green light, the race was over and the only question was how fast? The answer was 1:50 3/5 on a fast track.

"I sent early to show Migliore that he wasn't going to be on an easy lead, and then I took hold of her," Santos said. "She resented it a little, but then she relaxed. I asked her to go at the three-eighths pole, and she took off."

Jerkens was delighted with the success of the experiment that made the Kentucky-bred Quiet American filly a five-time winner from 22 starts. It was her first graded stakes win. She lost her last start, the Long Look at Meadowlands Oct. 11, by a half-length after leading into the stretch as the 7-5 choice.

"We've been able to run her with some regularity, which is what she needs," Jerkens said. "We thought the thing to do today was to give her a target to run at, unless she ended up on the lead by default. We wanted to try her chasing a little bit, because she seems to wait on horses. At The Meadowlands last time, she got away with an easy lead and I couldn't believe she got caught."

Miss Linda lasted for third with Misty Sixes trailing. Favored She's Got The Beat took a bad step while rallying on the turn for home and her career may be over.

"We're going to take her back to the barn and take some X-rays to rule out a sesamoid fracture or a suspensory ligament tear of her left foreleg," said Dr. Celeste Kunz, chief examining veterinarian of the New York Racing Association. "She has one or the other, because her fetlock is sinking. This is career threatening, not life threatening.

Said jockey John Velazquez of She's Got The Beat: "Before this happened, I said `Man, I'm going to win it.' But she took a bad step, and then she was going bad. I tried to pull her up, but she wouldn't pull up. I was trying to save her. It was rough."

The winner earned $64,500 to increase her career bankroll to $270,750.

Pocus Hocus, at 12-1 the second-longest price in the six-horse field, paid $26.20, $9.30 and $4.30. Nonsuch Bay returned $4.70 and $3.80. Miss Linda's show was $3.60. The $2 exacta was worth $116.50.

(Chart, Equibase)

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