Edward P. Evans' homebred Halo Homewrecker edged past pacesetting Don Six in mid-stretch and held on for a one-length victory in the $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at muddy Aqueduct Park.
Ridden by John Velazquez, the Virginia-bred Southern Halo colt completed the seven-furlong Bay Shore in 1:23 on a muddy track. Longshot Stanislavsky, who took up sharply after the start, was a distant third, 6 1/4 lengths from the front, in a roughly run race.
But Don Six, who set the pace with jockey Aaron Gryder in a quick :21 4/5 and :44 3/5 considering the track conditions, and Halo Homewrecker, who is trained by Mark Hennig, were able to avoid the trouble that compromised favored During and several others.
"I did not want him to be part of the pace when I left the house this morning, but after watching a few races, I told Johnny (Velazquez) that he was quick enough to use earlier, if he needed to," Hennig said. "Obviously, there was a mad scramble for the lead, but luckily, everything worked out for us."
Making his first stakes start, Halo Homewrecker won his third straight race since a fourth-place debut in June at Belmont. All of his wins have come at the seven-furlong distance. The victory, worth $90,000, pushed his career bankroll to $135,780.
That everything worked out as well as it did came as something of a surprise for Hennig.
"He is still learning," Hennig said. "Johnny (Velazquez) told me the horse was looking around at the wet spots on the track during the post parade. The horse was jumping around on the backstretch during the warm-up. He was also acting up in the gate. I thought he was going to be left at the start."
Apparently, all Halo Homewrecker left at the start were his bad habits.
"He came out running," Velazquez said. "We got really good position, not too far back. He was game every step of the way."
During, who finished seventh, was the post time 2-1 favorite.
"I'm very disappointed because I thought he would run much better than he did," said During's trainer Bob Baffert. "But he is a green-acting son of a gun, and he didn't like the track."
Sent off at 7-2, the winner paid $9.60, $5 and $4.60. Don Six returned $5.60 and $5.70. Stanislavsky, ridden by Jose Santos, showed for $12.60. The $2 exacta was worth $42.40.