Adios Charlie , passed in the stretch by Justin Phillip , re-broke along the inside to win the $150,000 Jerome Stakes (gr. II) going away by 2 1/2 lengths on a sloppy track at rainy Aqueduct April 23 (VIDEO).
The son of Indian Charlie was coming off a promising 6 3/4-length maiden win at Gulfstream Park March 30 for trainer Stanley Hough, who owns the colt in partnership with Robert Sahn.
Ridden by Rajiv Maragh, 6-1 shot Adios Charlie battled 2-1 favorite Cal Nation on the lead before disposing of that one in the stretch. But he appeared to be running for second money as Justin Phillip put in a big run on the outside to take the lead. Adios Charlie, though, had more to give, rallying impressively under urging and winning easily while completing the one-turn mile in 1:36.81 over a sealed track.
“That was a big thrill," Hough said. "I thought he ran great.
"I didn’t nominate him to the Triple Crown, but obviously the Preakness is a thought," Hough added. "There are a lot of options for 3-year-olds. We’ll try to make the right decision. Obviously he’s got some talent and hopefully he’ll move forward.”
Astrology , the narrow 2-1 second choice running for the late Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton, angled outside on the turn for home for jockey Mike Smith. Astrology put together a belated rally from fourth to edge his Steve Asmussen stablemate Justin Phillip and Ramon Dominguez for second by a neck.
Eight 3-year-olds contested the Jerome, which was formerly run at Belmont Park and was on hiatus in 2010 before returning this season to the Aqueduct schedule.
A $400,000 2-year-old purchase at the Ocala Breeders' Sale in March 2010, Adios Charlie was meant to be a good one. But his juvenile campaign was cut short when he sustained a hind leg stress fracture while second in a maiden special weight at Belmont Park Oct. 7. He is now two-for-two in 2011 after returning with his impressive maiden win at Gulfstream.
Brylynn Farm bred Adios Charlie in Florida. The bay colt is out of Teak Totem, by Northern Afleet .
Cal Nation, pressured by Adios Charlie from the start from, carved fractions of :23.31 and :47.12 before giving way to his pace challenger. Justin Philip, who ranged into contention on the turn on the outside, closed impressively after running six furlongs in 1:11.87.
Adios Charlie, racing between rivals, got a slight advantage in the lane but Justin Phillip was in charge by one length at midstretch before running out of steam in the final furlong. Astrology, the only graded stakes winner in the field, finished willingly to be second best.
Then came Rattlesnake Bridge, Isn't He Perfect, Starship Caesar, Gallant Dreams and Cal Nation.
"I didn’t want to move with (Justin Phillip) early," Maragh said. "Going into the turn he started ranging up pretty strong and I felt like the best thing was to not go all out at that point of the race. I felt like if I went with him and we both started slowing up at the end, someone might beat us both.
"So, I just waited a little more and then I made my stretch run and my horse had a lot left in the end," Maragh added. "He was running well within himself all the way down the backstretch, so I felt like he was going to give me a lot in the stretch.”
Adios Charlie earned $90,000 for the second win in his career. He paid $14.60, $6.30 and $4.90 as the fifth choice while carrying 116 pounds.
Astrology, the 120-pound high weight, returned $3.90 and $3.20 and completed a $61.50 exacta in his second start of the year for Asmussen. Astrology is expected to run in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 21.
Justin Phillip, making a quick turnaround for Asmussen following a third-place finish in Aqueduct's Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) April 9, was $4.10 to show.