Godolphin Racing's Hemsworth broke his maiden in his stakes debut, and he did it leading gate-to-wire in the $200,000 Nashua Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-olds on opening day of the 2016 Aqueduct Racetrack fall meet.
Hemsworth broke sharply under jockey Antonio Gallardo as Han Sense and Capitaine, the 1-5 favorite, stumbled out of the gate. With clear control throughout, the Bernardini colt took the field of four through an opening quarter-mile in :24.37, with the half going in :47.94 and three-quarters in 1:12.85, with Boys From Boston perched along his outside.
The Tom Albertrani trainee cut the corner turning for home, drawing off through the stretch to complete the one-turn mile in 1:38.70, coasting to a 9 1/2-length victory. A supplemental entrant for the Nashua, Hemsworth was sent off at 6-1 odds to return $14 for a $2 win wager.
"I talked to Tom this morning and he said he's a nice 2-year-old," Gallardo said. "The only problem is that he's a little green, but he's learning more and more each race. He took the lead early. The plan was not push him or hold him back, whatever he felt comfortable doing, it was fine. Once I saw the No. 2 (Han Sense) stumble from the gate, I said 'OK, let's go.' It worked out good."
Prior to the Nashua, Hemsworth finished fourth in a pair of maiden special weights, finishing 10 1/4 lengths behind eventual grade II Futurity winner and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) hopeful Theory in his six-furlong debut on July 30 at Saratoga Race Course and broke slow in his follow-up race at a mile on September 11 at Belmont Park.
"We've been very high on this colt since Saratoga this summer," said Dan Stupp, Albertrani's assistant. "Just looking at him, he looks like he wants to go a little longer. He ran short his first time out and ran a really good fourth. Then he came back in a maiden race stretching out to a mile and he didn't break good that day and wanted to rush up greenly in behind the speed horses and it didn't work out for him that day. When this race came up short on horses, Tommy decided to give him a crack at it because we've always had high hopes for him.
"If he broke good and wanted to put himself there, the idea was to just let him get into a rhythm and be comfortable," he continued. "The thing with him is you just have to get him into a rhythm and from there he kind of does the rest."
Han Sense closed to secure second, followed by Capitaine and Boys From Boston to complete the order of finish. Mo Town, the 6-5 morning-line favorite, was scratched.