Wrangler earned $48,435 for the win, his sixth in 13 career starts. (Chart, Equibase)
Stronach Stable's homebred Wrangler beat Late Carson by 2 3/4 lengths Saturday in the 94th running of the $80,725 Paumonok Handicap for horses 3-years-old and older. Run Kush Run was third in the field of five, followed by Peeping Tom and Kashatreya. Jockey Aaron Gryder rode the Paumonok's winner for the third time in five renewals. It was also the second Paumonok winner for owner Frank Stronach, whose Falkenburg won in 2000. Wrangler carried 114 pounds six furlongs in 1:09.07 on the fast track to earn $48,435 while remaining undefeated in two starts this year, his only starts for trainer James Jerkens. Joe Orseno previously conditioned the Kentucky-bred son of Carson City."I was just waiting around the turn," said Gryder. "I wasn't worried about when I'd get by the leader; I knew I'd get by him. This horse has continued to get better since the first time he ran at Saratoga. That day, (trainer) Joe Orseno told me to reach down and grab him and reserve him a little bit and it really seems like he has taken to that style."Wrangler returned $4.20, $2.70, and $2.20. Late Carson, also by Carson City, paid $3.70 and $2.90, and Run Kush Run was worth $3.00 to show. The exacta comprised of horses sired by Carson City returned $12.20."I was a little worried today because he was carrying a heavy coat and the weather is warm," said Jerkens. "I was debating about clipping him between races, but he was doing so well I didn't want to change anything. It would be foolish not to think about the General George (gr. II, Feb. 18 at Laurel Park). Seven furlongs might fit him nice the way he kicked in."