Sent off at 19-1 in a six-horse field, More Than a Reason came from off the pace and ran down Stormy's Majesty in the final strides to win the $100,000 Queens County (gr. III) (VIDEO) Dec. 11 at Aqueduct and notch his first stakes victory in his 60th lifetime start.
Third in the last year’s Queens County, More Than a Reason was making his 18th start of 2010. Though he entered the 1 3/16-mile inner track contest with three wins on the season, he had finished off the board in all six of his previous stakes efforts.
Eddie Castro guided the 5-year-old horse to victory for trainer Randy Persaud. The son of More Than Ready is owned by Anthony Calabrese.
More Than a Reason was last after six furlongs and had only one rival beat when he entered the lane from a five-wide position. He was chasing Stormy's Majesty, who had stalked the pace set by Seniors Pride and took over in upper stretch. With Edgar Prado aboard, Stormy’s Majesty held a narrow lead for nearly all of the final furlongs, but by mid-stretch he was being threatened by More Than a Reason and odds-on favorite Arson Squad, who was between horses and trying to force his way through under Ramon Dominguez.
Not much seperated those three as they neared the wire, but it was More Than a Reason who got up by a head. Stormy’s Majesty held second by a neck. The final time was 1:57.69 over the fast dirt.
More Than a Reason’s last win came on the mud May 12 at Belmont Park. The bay horse had dropped eight in a row since then including a fourth-place effort last out in the Nov. 20 Mad Hatter Stakes. In November 2008 he was claimed out of a $15,000 race at Aqueduct.
This was his 12th win and the $60,000 prize upped his earnings to $477,720.
“I just play around with him," Persaud said. "I baby him. He’s my best horse. I don’t train him hard, I just run him. That's all he does. He’s big hearted, but you have to ride him right. One run, that’s it. If you keep him too close to the pace or try to move too early, you get nothing.
"I was supposed to run him last Sunday for the optional claim, but I just skipped it. I was shooting straight for this race. I claimed him for $15,000. You’ve got to be in it to win it. He’s going to have a break now.”
Bred in Kentucky by Ron Kirby and Tom Kirby, More Than a Reason is out of the Sabona mare Sab’s Reason.
The winner paid $40.20, $1.20, and $5.10. The exacta (5-2) returned $194.50 and the trifecta (5-2-1) was $488.50.
Modern Cowboy finished fourth, followed by Seniors Pride and Pedrolino. Seniors Pride led the way through splits of :24.91, :50.49, and 1:15.64 before giving way.