Primary Suspect, ridden by Pablo Fragoso, wins the Toboggan Stakes.

Primary Suspect, ridden by Pablo Fragoso, wins the Toboggan Stakes.

AP/NYRA, Adam Coglianese

Primary Suspect Skates to Toboggan Triumph

(from Aqueduct report)
Jockey Pablo Fragoso, under instructions from trainer Mark Hennig to stay close to 4-5 favorite Shake You Down, guided Primary Suspect to a 1 ΒΌ-length victory in the 112th running of the $107,100 Toboggan Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct Saturday.

Originally scheduled for seven furlongs on Aqueduct's main track, the Toboggan was cut back to six furlongs when unsettled weather conditions delayed the opening of the main track until March 18. With only four betting interests among the six starters, there was no show wagering.

Having exited a loss to Forest Danger at Gulfstream last month, Primary Suspect was sent to New York to get his confidence back. Hennig passed on the Richter Scale Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Gulfstream, feeling Primary Suspect had only one horse to beat in the Toboggan.

Even a minor snowfall on Saturday morning did not shake Hennig's confidence.

"This was a good spot for him," Hennig said of Primary Suspect, who returned $9.30 and $4.40 to win. He earned $64,260 for owner Lee Lewis.

"Coming off that race against Forest Danger last time, he might have faced the best sprinter in the country that day," Hennig said. "We didn't want to get in too tough a race and run back there in the Richter Scale. With his record over an off-track, I was a little hesitant sending him up here, so I am glad we got snow instead of rain.

"I thought Pablo (Fragoso, jockey) did a good job. I was hoping that one other horse from the inside would go with Shake You Down. I told Pablo not to let Shake You Down get away."

Fragoso paid strict attention. Never more than a length and a half behind the front-runner, Primary Suspect stalked Shake You Down through splits of :22 4/5; :45 3/5 and :57 1/5, before driving to the lead at the furlong pole and winning in 1:09 2/5.

"It's not necessarily the way he wants to be ridden, having to go to a drive at the three-eighths pole, but he was able to wear him down," Hennig said of the 4-year-old Hennessy colt's fifth victory in nine career starts.

Houston's Prayer made a powerful rally to get third, coming up a neck short to Shake You Down, who returned $3.30.

"He got away from there and was pretty comfortable down the backside," said Mike Luzzi, who rode Shake You Down. "He finished, but he wasn't as strong as the winner."

Super Fuse was fourth, followed by Papua and Jets Fan.

(Chart, Equibase)