Attila's Storm, rebounding from a fourth-place finish in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr I), held off Voodoo and Super Fuse to win Thursday's $112,500, six-furlong Fall Highweight Handicap, Aqueduct's traditional Thanksgiving Day feature before a crowd of 3,117.
Carrying 126 pounds, one fewer than last year's Fall Highweight winner Thunder Touch, Attila's Storm broke sharp from rail under jockey Pablo Morales, who substituted for Ramon Dominguez, who was stuck in traffic.
"Pablo did a great job," said winning trainer Richard Schosberg. "Dominguez called me from the Goethals Bridge and told me there was no way he would make it because he was in traffic. He was standing outside of his car. When his agent called me also, I said, `We're in trouble.' We went over out options and I left it up to the partners. He sat chilly. He was inside and he let that other horse get the lead. He didn't come off the quarter pole `slapping'; he's a good, young rider. The instructions were that he is a real fast horse and he's going to come out on top. If someone else has to have the lead, they can."
Attila's Storm got the first quarter-mile in :22 and the half in :44 4/5 and first held off a challenge from Redskin Warrior as the field turned into the stretch. He then held off bids by 7-year-old Voodoo longshot Super Fuse, carrying 124 pounds and finished first in final time of 1:09 1/5.
"I kept to the inside because I had the 1 (post)," said Morales, a 17-year-old apprentice from Peru. "I had to go. The horse ran really good. When Voodoo came to his outside, I said, `Man, he's going to win.' Then, I started hitting my horse left-handed, and he started coming back. He did a really nice job."
It was the fourth win in nine career starts for Attila's Storm, a 3-year-old son of Forest Wildcat
owned by Barry K. Schwartz, Wachtal Stable, Double S Stable and Brous Stable.
Attila's Storm returned $8.00, $4.30, and $3.20. Voodoo was a neck back to pay $6.00 and $3.80, and another neck back in third was Super Fuse, paying $8.00. Sir Greeley was fourth, followed by Thunder Touch, Redskin Warrior, Yankee Mon, Mr. Whitestone and All Hail Stormy. Byanosejoe and Introspect were scratched
Contingent upon coming out of the Fall Highweight satisfactorily, Schosberg said Attila's Storm could be headed to California for the Malibu.