Louis Ferrari's homebred Aunt Babe nosed out grade 2 winner Pure Silver to take the $150,000 New York Stallion Series Fifth Avenue Stakes Dec. 16 at odds of 39-1.
"I just took over the horse at the beginning of November. (Trainer) Carlos (Martin) did a lot of the earlier work," Ferraro said of the filly, who made her three previous starts for Martin. "We just took it easy on her. We thought she was over-trained a little bit. We got the right spot. The race came up light. There were over 300 fillies who were eligible for this race and only six of them showed up, so it was a little surprising.
"I trained the mother (Bella Silver) for a little while. She had a lot of class too. (Aunt Babe) stepped up today and did it. I told (jockey) Eric (Cancel) to just get a position and make one run, and he saw the same thing too. So we were all on the same page. Eric did a lot of riding to get there. That's for sure."
In Saturday's test Aunt Babe and Cancel raced at the back of the six-horse field, as Velvet Trinni led through a quarter-mile in :22.34. Aunt Babe started her move forward in the turn, as favored Miss Hot Stones and second choice Pure Silver attempted to catch the leader. A half-mile went in :46.18.
Velvet Trinni had a one-length lead in the stretch, but that was quickly closed. Pure Silver inched up along the rail to take over inside the eighth pole, as Miss Hot Stones closed on the outside. With a late surge four-wide, Aunt Babe caught up and managed to get a nose over Pure Silver at the wire.
"I just tried to give her a confident ride. I didn't have to rush her to do anything," Cancel said. "I put my hands down on her and I decided to make my move from the quarter pole. I knew I had horse at the end, so I just tried to go on the outside and get a little bit of an advantage. She kept on running and the trip worked out really well."
Miss Hot Stones was a half-length back in third and it was another 3 1/2 lengths to Wegetsdamunnys in fourth. The final time was 1:12.92 over the track labeled good. Velvet Trinni and Beaux Arts completed the order of finish.
The winner returned $81, $13.20, and $4.40 across the board.
Out of the Silver Deputy mare Bella Silver, Aunt Babe now has two wins from four starts, with earnings of $127,500. She entered Saturday's race off two off-the-board finishes in New York-bred stakes. Her only other win was her debut in September at Belmont Park, where she demolished a field of 11 state-bred maidens by 7 1/2 lengths.