Hydrogen, with Richard Migliore aboard, captures the Stymie Stakes.

Hydrogen, with Richard Migliore aboard, captures the Stymie Stakes.

AP/NYRA Adam Coglianese

Slap to Face Doesn't Stop Hydrogen in Stymie

Earle I. Mack's Hydrogen, roused by a slap in the face, found room in the stretch Saturday and slipped through to win the $80,950 Stymie Handicap by a nose over 9-10 favorite Aggadan.

Hydrogen, carrying jockey Richard Migliore, split pacesetter Halo Malone, who was on the inside, and Song of the Sword in deep stretch and surged to the lead. Aggadan and jockey Ariel Smith came widest of all as Hydrogen prevailed in 1:50 4/5 on Aqueduct's fast inner dirt track.

"I ran out of options because the pace was so slow and I was in the pocket," Migliore said. "I was just hoping for a little wiggle room. He got his head in there, and he was kind of stuck. Norberto (Arroyo Jr. aboard Song of the Sword) was going left-handed, and my horse actually got hit in the face once. He showed a great deal of heart. Then, when he got through there, he punched again."

The victory halted a six-race losing streak for the Bruce Levine-trained Hydrogen, a 6-year-old son of Pleasant Colony who has earned $370,204 in his career.

With Halo Malone setting a slow pace of :24 2/5; :49 2/5; 1:14 1/5 and 1:38 1/5, Hydrogen found himself without much room while deep in the stretch. But then he got a rude awakening.

Hydrogen, who carried 115 pounds to Aggadan's 122, returned $9.60, $3.30 and $2.70 for his fifth win in 25 starts.

Aggadan returned $2.60 and $2.20. Song of the Sword, $3.10 to show, finished 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner.

(Chart, Equibase)