Snake Mountain Wins Again at Aqueduct

Berkshire Stud's Snake Mountain and jockey Jose Santos made a four-wide move on the final turn and then surged through the lane for a 1 ¼-length victory over Docent in the $110,000 Queens County Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds and up Saturday on Aqueduct's inner dirt track.

It was the third consecutive win for Snake Mountain, who scored on the main track at Aqueduct in the Stuyvesant Handicap (gr. III) Nov. 5 in her last outing.

With Jarf, Pleasant Breeze and Cat's At Home setting a strong pace of :23 2/5; :47 4/5 and 1:11 3/5 in the 1 3/16-mile Queens County, Snake Mountain was able to save ground to the quarter-pole. When Santos gave him his queue, the 4-year-old gelded son of A.P. Indy, who carried top weight of 117 pounds, circled the leaders and drew off for the victory in 1:56.84.

The James Jerkens-trained winner boosted his career record to seven wins in 14 starts, with earnings of $310,607 after picking up a $66,000 winner's share.

"We were in good position," Santos said. "The track is in really good shape. We really fell into a good trip. He really just relaxed on the backstretch. We had to go a little wide today. But it doesn't matter. This horse keeps digging and digging. He's a nice horse and I think he is still improving."

Jack Shelley, part owner of Snake Mountain, said that the Aqueduct Handicap on Jan. 18 would likely be the horse's next start.

"We were a little concerned with the track because it looked like it was favoring inside speed and this horse is a bit of a plodder," Shelley said. "Jose said he didn't have a problem with the track at all and he could have made the lead at any time. This was his best race today."

Snake Mountain paid $5.90, $3.80 and $2.60 as the 19-10 favorite in the field of seven. Docent ($4.40 and $3.20) was 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Cat's At Home, who paid $4.10 to show. Pleasant Breeze was a half-length back in fourth.

(Chart, Equibase)