Jockey Jerry Bailey made quick work of Mike Smith's longstanding record for stakes victories in a season when he guided favored Read the Footnotes to an easy victory in the $200,000 Remsen Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at Aqueduct.
Bailey went into Saturday's races needing one victory to tie the 1994 record of 68 stakes in a year and got that one a race prior to the Remsen with Ashado in a thrilling Demoiselle Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.
The Remsen wasn't as dramatic a finish. Read the Footnotes passed pacesetting West Virginia on the turn for home and assumed a five-length advantage in the stretch before cruising home in 1:50 3/5 for the 1 1/8-mile Remsen, Baily pumping his fist in victory after crossing the wire.
"It's a load off my back," said Bailey of getting the record. "Last year, I thought I had it and then I didn't. This year, I thought I would have it a lot earlier, but it kind of floated out there. I give Mike Smith a lot of credit. It is very tough to do, but I'm glad it is over with. I have to give (agent) Ron Anderson a lot of credit for picking good horses. Your clients have to have healthy horses and you've got to stay healthy, too. I try not to put pressure on myself. When you are riding for guys like (trainers) Bobby Frankel and Bob Baffert, you're going to win races. When they're strong, you're strong."
Bailey hopes he has a major candidate for next year's Derby trail as well. Read the Footnotes won around two turns in his first try.
Master David was second, 3 3/4 lengths behind the winner and 10 3/4 lengths clear of West Virginia.
The New York-bred son of Smoke Glacken-Baydon Belle (Al Nasr), owned by Klaravich Stables and trained by Richard Violette Jr., won his second consecutive graded stakes race. He won the one-mile Nashua (gr. III) at Aqueduct Nov. 2. Saturday's victory, worth $120,000, was his fourth in five career starts and doubled his career earnings to $240,660. His only loss was a sixth-place showing in the Champagne (gr. I).
"Other than the Champagne, this horse has done everything right," said Violette. "He's won from five-eighths to a mile and an eighth, and today, he rated very well. He settled off the other horse, and when horses cooperate with their rider, it's a big advantage.
"Winning this race is a big advantage for next year because he has already won a mile and an eighth and has two-turn experience. We won't be experimenting going into next year. We could point to where we want to point him and not have to worry about finding out things. Some nice horses have won the Remsen and the Kentucky Derby, but two-year-olds have to graduate and be nice three-year-olds."
Lawrence Goichman bred the winner, who was purchased for $320,000.
The 2-1 favorite paid $6, $4.20 and $3.10. Master David, ridden by Jose Santos, returned $10.60 and $6.70. West Virginia, with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, showed for $6.
Artie Schiller, Big Booster, El Prado Rob, Mustanfar, Pa Pa Da, Who Is Chris G., Milestone Victory and Tap Day completed the order of finish.