Sticksstatelydude has raced at seven different racetracks and in four different states, but does his best in one—the Empire State.
It's not that the 3-year-old First Dude colt runs poorly other places—he finished second in the Oklahoma Derby (gr. III) Sept. 25 at Remington Park—but he pushed his record to a perfect three-for-three in New York Nov. 12 in the $150,000 Discovery Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Sticksstatelydude took the lead early and never relented in the 1 1/8-mile dirt test. He set fractions of :24.29, :49.21, and 1:13.87, maintaining a length to a half-length advantage. Longshot Neolithic provided the only challenge and moved alongside in the stretch, but could not go by as the favorites toiled behind.
The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee hit the wire in 1:50.58 under jockey Joel Rosario to secure his first stakes win.
"He was going pretty easy and I just let him do his thing," Rosario said. "It's exactly how he likes to go. We stayed up front and it looked like easy fractions and it left him with something in the end."
"It was a great race. Greg (Burchell) has trained him most of the time, and sends him up here and we switch back and forth, but he's done a great job," McLaughlin said. "We talked and thought there wasn't much pace after (Hot Seat) scratched, so we told Joel, 'If they let you go to the lead, do your thing' and he said he'd be first or second.
"So when he broke well and went on with him, it was a great effort. The fractions weren't too fast and everything went well, and this was a nice group of horses. We're proud of him."
My Man Sam closed from last in the field of nine to win a photo for third with Adulator. Favored Gift Box, Sunny Ridge, Governor Malibu, Wild About Deb, and Vulcan's Forge completed the order of finish.
Off at 6-1, the winner paid $14.40, $6.80, and $4.80 across the board. Neolithic delivered $17.20 and $10.80, and My Man Sam brought $4.70.
Bred in Kentucky by Canyon Lake Thoroughbreds out of the Gilded Time mare Placerita, Sticksstatelydude now has a 3-3-0 record from eight starts for owners Ferris Haynes, Pack Pride Racing, M. Haynes, and B. Ward.