Dogwood Stable's Drum Major caught favored Fishy Advice in the final strides for a head victory in the $114,100 Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Aqueduct turf course Saturday.
The 4-year-old Drum Major will spend the winter in Florida for trainer George Weaver after capturing his first graded stakes victory. The Dynaformer
colt was making his debut on the Aqueduct lawn Saturday.
Outrun early when held in seventh by jockey Joe Bravo, Drum Major made up much ground while rallying wide in the stretch. Fishy Advice, who took over the pacesetting duties shortly after the first quarter mile, inched clear in the stretch and gave way stubbornly as the 11-10 choice under Eibar Coa. It was 2 1/2 lengths back to third-pace finisher Giant Wrecker and Richard Migliore. The final time for the nine furlongs was 1:50 2/5 on a good course.
"I really didn't want to be that far back," Bravo said. "My instructions were to lay closer to the pace, but in turf racing things don't always go how you want."
Giant Wrecker led the field of 10 for the first quarter mile in :24 1/5 before Fishy Advice took over for the half-mile in :48 2/5 and three-quarters in 1:13 3/5.
Drum Major won $68,460 for his sixth win in 17 lifetime starts. He has earned $338,058. His turf record stands at six wins in 13 tries. Off since a fifth-place finish in the Maker's Mark (gr. IIT) at Keeneland in April, Drum Major returned at Belmont Sept. 30 with a fifth-place finish in the Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT).
"This horse has always had a lot of promise," Weaver said. "He got sidetracked last April and needed a little time off. This is the first time in a while we've tried a mile and an eighth with him. Hopefully, this opens up some more opportunities for him."
Second choice in the field, he paid $8.80, $3.60 and $3.30. Fishy Advice returned $2.80 and $2.50 Giant Wrecker was $5.40 to show.
Islero Noir finished fourth, followed by Proud Man, Woodlander, Tiganello, Planets Aligned, Bastille and Kurm. Win With Beck scratched.
Roger W. Clark bred the winner, who is out of the Williamstown mare Endless Parade, in Kentucky. Drum Major was a $200,000 Keeneland buy in April 2004.