Chilly Rooster Lights Fire in Fort Marcy

(from Aqueduct report)
Off the board in three career turf starts for Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens, 32-1 Chilly Rooster defeated 50-1 Union Place by a half-length in Saturday's $111,400 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.

The 4-year-old Arch gelding was ridden by 18-year-old Shannon Uske for Jerkens, who scratched one of the fancied Fort Marcy contenders, Bowman's Band, earlier in the day.

"I'm not saying he should have won his turf races, but he had really bad luck," Jerkens said. "He blew out extra sharp for this the last time he worked. And Bowman's Band didn't want to do anything this morning. Looked like he was a little `sulky.' I wanted to scratch this one, but Shannon said, `We'll pick up a check Chief.' I bought his mother (Chilly Chick) in a sale really cheap, and she's had some foals that have been very good to us."

Jerkens won his fourth Fort Marcy, his third for Jack Dreyfus' Hobeau Farm.

Chilly Rooster and Uske battled Javier Castellano and Union Place in an exciting stretch run. in 1:42 2/5.

Beaten by only a combined 8 1/4 lengths in his three turf efforts, Chilly Rooster saved ground most of the way before surging to the front in the lane. Union Palace ranged up on the outside to challenge.

"I couldn't believe how great it was setting up," said Uske, who sat behind Rogue Agent's pace of :23 3/5, :48 1/5; 1:12 4/5 and 1:36 2/5 on the firm course. " I knew I had horse. That's why I sent him through there. I didn't want to get stuck in traffic. I love this horse. I've been getting on him since January of 2003."

Slew Valley, who made a big move on the turn for Jorge Chavez but was forced wide, ran third, followed by Charge, Remind, Rogue Agent, Steadfast and True and Toccet. Black Silk was also scratched.

"That was a long way to come to get such little effort," said Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey of favored Remind. "I got not response."

Chilly Rooster paid $66.50, $25.80 and $11.80. Union Place returned $43.20 and $18.50. Slew Valley's show was $4.30. The exacta was worth $1,109 and the trifecta $4,774.

(Chart, Equibase)