Sean Avery Just Holds on in Tight Vanderbilt
Front-running Sean Avery, under all-out pressure from jockey Joe Bravo, nosed odds-on choice Trappe Shot to produce a 17-1 stunner in the $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. I) (VIDEO) at Saratoga Aug. 7.
“The race itself was just so exciting,” said Iwinski. “Going right down to the wire. Head-and-head. ‘Are we going to get there? Are we beat?’ He just hung in. It was just an exciting race, besides the fact it was my first grade I win.”
Sean Avery opened a two-length edge over Calibrachoa while stepping an opening quarter-mile of :21.91. He maintained his edge through a half-mile in :44.56 with Apriority advancing into second.
With their respective jockeys working frantically, the two exchanged head bobs in the final strides with Sean Avery getting the nod. Final time on a track rated "good" was 1:09.71.
“He kind of relaxed out there and he was all by himself,” said Bravo. “Really, honestly, I thought Trappe Shot beat us. I really did. At the wire he had the nose, but Sean knew he was there and stuck his head out and didn’t want to let him get by. He tries so hard.”
Trappe Shot was the heavy pick off his 8 1/2-length romp in the muddy True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park June 11.
“It’s disappointing to lose because this was a grade I race and it means so much to a stallion’s potential,” said Trappe Shot’s trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin. “The post position, obviously, had us racing wide. The track was favoring speed. (Velazquez) said everything was against us; speed on the inside and he had to use him hard and ask him twice. A jump before and a jump after (the wire), we’re a winner. It was a tough loss. Still, he ran great for what he had to do.”
Sean Avery began his career in 2008 racing for Iwinski, finishing third in a Saratoga juvenile race captured by eventual graded stakes winner Munnings. He raced for Michael Hushion in 2009, making four starts and winning two races before he was injured.
Sean Avery earned $150,000 for the Vanderbilt victory, his sixth in 10 starts, boosting his career total to $338,180.
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