Eightyfiveinafifty made a winning return nearly two months after failing to finish the Whirlaway Stakes, as he led at every call in the seven-furlong Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) and cruised to a 2 1/2-length victory under Ramon Dominguez in the $200,000 event.
Racing for trainer and co-owner Gary Contessa, Eightyfiveinafifty broke sharply from post one and sailed through splits of :22.67, :45.01, and 1:08.82 while be ridden by Dominguez for the first time. His only serious threat most of the way was California shipper Hurricane Ike, who was making his debut on dirt, but the speedy son of Forest Camp put the race away by mid-stretch en route to his first stakes score.
The final time on a fast main track was 1:21.89. Hurricane Ike was runner-up under Calvin Borel, another 2 1/2 lengths in front of Remand in a field of six 3-year-old sprinters.
The only anxious moments for Eightyfiveinafifty were in the opening quarter-mile when he cocked his head toward the infield for a few seconds, but Dominguez quickly got the bay colt focused on his task. The awkward beginning probably gave Contessa a few uneasy moments, as the trainer had to sit through a disastrous last start when Eightyfiveinafifty failed to negotiate the first turn in the Feb. 6 Whirlaway, eventually bolting and crashing through the outside rail. That accident resulted in a leg cut which required 14 stitches.
“He’s a big horse with a big stride," Dominguez said. "It didn’t feel as if he was going in 1:08, but that’s the way it is with the good ones. I had no problem with him.”
Eightyfiveinafifty made headlines earlier this season when he romped by 17 1/4 lengths while breaking his maiden at Aqueduct. He now has two wins in four starts with earnings of $149,500.
The winner was bred in Kentucky by A. Lakin & Sons and James Kintz, and is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Lifeinthefastlane. He was purchased for $100,000 at the OBS selected sale of 2-year-olds in training.
The connections still have a goal of trying Eightyfiveinafifty in one of the Triple Crown races this spring.
“The next race may be the Derby Trial (gr. III, April 24 Churchill Downs)," co-owner Harold Lerner said. "Perhaps, then the Preakness. The big dance (Kentucky Derby)? We're not ruling that out. One thing at a time. We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”
Sent off at odds of 3-5, Eightyfiveinafifty paid $3.20, $2.60, and $2.10. The exacta (1-4) paid $10.20 and the trifecta (1-4-6) returned $37.
One race later in the $200,000 Excelsior Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) at nine furlongs, Dominguez grabbed his second straight graded-stakes when he guided Marc Ferrell's Goldsville to a victory for trainer Michael Hushion. It was also the first stakes win for the 5-year-old son of Successful Appeal , who was bred in Florida by Fred Pace.