Patience Pays for Snake Mountain in Stymie

(from track report)
It took a L-O-N-G time for spring weather to finally get to Aqueduct Racetrack, and it took a while to run the Stymie Handicap as well.

For 6,755 fair-weather fans at the Big A on Sunday afternoon, it also took a long time for Berkshire Stud's Snake Mountain to catch Classic Endeavor. But Snake Mountain did just that, getting up in the final strides to score a nose victory in the the $80,975 Stymie Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 mile. The Stymie was to have been run on Mar. 8, but was added to Sunday's Gotham Stakes Day card when harsh weather canceled racing that day.

It was the fifth straight victory for Snake Mountain, and the hardest of his 16-race career.

The 5-year-old gelded son of A.P. Indy carried high weight of 123 pounds and spotted his five rivals from six to 12 pounds. But he was on Aqueduct's inner track, where he is now undefeated in four starts, and he was going a distance where he has now won five of six tries with one third.

"He was a little sluggish early, but I guess the pace was fast," said winning trainer Jimmy Jerkens, after his charge stalked a pace of :24; :47 4/5; and 1:13 before kicking in for the victory in 1:49 3/5. "The weather got a little warm on us all of a sudden and he still has that big winter coat on.

"He really showed a lot of class today. He was giving Classic Endeavor nine pounds, and that is a lot of weight in this day and age."

Settled in behind the early leaders, Snake Mountain made his move entering the stretch under jockey Mike Luzzi. He was all out to collar Classic Endeavor who had spurted to the lead entering the far turn.

Snake Mountain returned $3 to win.

Classic Endeavor was two and a half lengths ahead of Ground Storm who was third.

(Chart, Equibase)