(Edited Aqueduct release)
It was a lucrative start to 2010 for the lucky horseplayers backing George Santangelo’s homebred Hudson Heights in race 6 at Aqueduct Jan. 2, as the 110-1 longshot colt rallied late up the outside to win by a head (VIDEO).
Hudson Heights returned $223 for a $2 win bet, the highest win payout at a NYRA track in more than a decade. On Feb. 6, 1999, Barrier Free won the first race at Aqueduct and paid $338. The record for a win payout at a NYRA track ($434) was set by Markobob at Aqueduct on Sept. 3, 1943.
Coupled with Assaf Ronen’s 29-1 winner Gold Vendetta ($60) in race 7, an allowance contest, NYRA paid out a near-record $4,226 Daily Double on races 6 and 7. The record was set Aug. 27, 1945 at Saratoga when Buddie Bones and Junction City combined for a $4,313.90 Daily Double.
Trained by Colum O’Brien, Hudson Heights broke his maiden just six weeks ago at Finger Lakes and carried a 1-1-2 record from 14 starts into the $17,000, six-furlong claiming race at Aqueduct.
Dismissed at the windows, the 4-year-old New York-bred son of Champali, out of the Chilean mare Super Blue, also surprised his connections.
“I gave him some time off last year,” O’Brien said of the colt, who made three starts over the inner track at Aqueduct last winter, finishing fourth, eighth and fifth. “His dam was a group 1 winner in South America, but the offspring of the stallion haven’t done much. I brought him back for one start in Saratoga and then sent him up to Jonathan Buckley at Finger Lakes and he broke his maiden. I’ve only had him back for three or four weeks now.”
It was the first win of the New Year for jockey Alex Bisono and he believes the longest-priced horse he’s ever brought home.
“Looking at the form before the race, I didn’t think I had a shot at all,” Bisono said. “He actually warmed up pretty good; he was on his toes, feeling good, so that built my confidence a little bit. In the stretch, I was just hoping he would keep his run going until we got to the finish line.”
Fox Hill Farm’s Laus Deo, 10-1 winner of the Count Fleet Stakes for 3-year-old colts (VIDEO), returned $22.80, swelling the Pick 3 payout for races 6, 7 and 8 to $32,074.
While the Pick 6 was not hit, a single bettor at River Downs correctly selected five of six winners at Aqueduct for an $11,671 consolation payoff. There is a $35,015 Pick 6 carryover into the Jan. 3 card.