Quantum Merit took the lead on the backstretch and coasted to an impressive victory in the New York Stallion Stakes Cormorant Division under Richard Migliore as part of a four-race New York showcase at Aqueduct on Sunday. "He was much the best and I enjoyed the ride," Migliore said. Quantum Merit settled just behind pacesetter Winloc's Nelson (:24 3/4 and :49 3/5) before taking the lead through three-quarters of a mile in 1:14 2/5. Migliore nursed the lead around the turn and through the homestretch to win by 2 1/2 lengths. They completed the mile-long race in 1:39 1/5 over the soft turf. "This is big for the horse and his confidence level," said winning trainer Del Carroll II. Quantum Merit – a dark bay 4-year-old gelding by Hansel, out of Just Flirting – was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Nielson and sold for $32,000 at the Saratoga Yearling Sale in 2000. He earned $60,000 for Very Un Stable on Sunday and is now 4-1-2 from 15 starts with career earnings of $238,940.Poglotti Hill and Aaron Gryder finished second. No White Flags and Jose Espinoza were third.
(Chart, Equibase)Great White Way Division
Progeny of New York stallion Tomorrows Cat finished first and second in the Great White Way Division with front-running winner West Virginia outlasting runner-up Eyeofthehunter. The second crop of runners by Tomorrows Cat, who stands at Questroyal Stud in New Hampton, also took the Fifth Avenue Division earlier in the day with juvenile filly So Sweet a Cat. West Virginia, under Jerry Bailey, set fractions of :22 3/5, :46 2/5 and :58 3/5 before pulling away to a two-length victory in 1:11 1/5. Eyeofthehunter, under Shaun Bridgmohan, finished a head in front of third-place Pa Pa Da and John Velazquez, who went off as the race favorite with entrymate and fifth-place finisher Kiss an Optimist. "It looked like he was as fast as any of them," Bailey said. "He had no trouble making the lead. I was very confident at the eighth pole."West Virginia – a dark bay juvenile colt out of Wild and Wonderful (Kennedy Road) – earned $75,000 for owner-breeders Mary and Donald Zuckerman. He broke his maiden by 11 1/2 lengths in his pervious start on Oct. 18 at Belmont and, with this victory, is now 2-0-0 from three starts with career earnings of $100,200. "On paper it looked like he could still be the speed of the race and it looks like that's the way the track has been playing," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "Fortunately he broke running and was able to get there. He stayed on steady and there were some pretty nice horses behind him."
(Chart, Equibase)Perfect Arc Division
Ma Femme went straight to the lead in the Perfect Arc Division, set testing fractions and held on to win the 1-mile turf race in 1:40 on soft going. "She likes running on the lead," said winning rider Julio Pezua. "You've got to drop your hands and let her go. If you take a hold of her, she'll try to get out. I had a lot of horse left at the eighth pole."Ma Femme broke from the rail post and set quick fractions of :23 1/5, :47 4/5 and 1:13 3/5. She drifted off the rail in the stretch, but jockey Pezua stayed aggressive and coaxed her along to the 2 1/4-length victory. "She's tough on the lead and nobody bothered her," said winning trainer John Hertler. Ma Femme – a 5-year-old statebred mare by Husband, out of Jazzerciser (Tarleton Oak) – earned $60,000 for owner-breeder Peggy Kumble. She is now 4-0-1 from 18 starts with earnings $156,000. Ma Femme paid $10.80 to win. Board Elligible, under Pablo Fragoso, could not catch the frontrunner and finished second at 41-1. Multiple Wins and Mike Luzzi were third.
(Chart, Equibase)Fifth Avenue Division
So Sweet a Cat settled into a nice off-the-pace position then took the lead in the stretch to win the Fifty Avenue Division under John Velazquez. She won by 2 1/4 lengths. "I didn't want to be stuck down inside," said Velazquez, who rode the winner for injured Jose Santos. "Once I got her outside she relaxed. I helped her around the turn. Once we straightened away I was pretty confident she was going to get up."French Dish and Jerry Bailey finished second. First-time starter Delia's Gone and Richard Migliore were third. Coconut Martini, another first-time starter, took the lead under Tim Thornton after a quarter mile, but she tired to fourth. So Sweet a Cat – a bay state-bred juvenile filly by Tomorrows Cat, out of Sly Damsel (Damascus) – earned $75,000 for owner-breeder Jane Freed. She is now 2-3-1 from six started with career earnings of $158,278. She completed the 6-furlong race in 1:13 2/5 and paid $6.50 to win. "She's a little weak behind and was having a little trouble on the turn," said winning trainer Ralph D'Alessandro. "When (Velazquez) got her in the straightaway, she started getting in gear a little bit and she ran her race."