The 3-year-old Warrior's Reward gelding won Sunday's six-furlong event by a neck for trainer Wesley Ward.
"I knew I was in (post) 1 and my horse likes to run on the lead. I just gave him a chance to win. And he showed me at the end. It looked like the horse outside me (Morning Breez) was going by me, but then my horse just kept coming and came back and we won," said rider Martin Garcia, who notched his first stakes win at Aqueduct since relocating to New York.
Battle Station dueled with Stoney Bennett through the first quarter-mile in :22.09, before that rival began to fade after the half-mile went in :45.59. Favored Morning Breez went four-wide around the turn and pulled ahead of Battle Station in the stretch, but the dark bay gelding wasn't done as he gamely fought back to win by a neck. The final time was 1:12.30 over the sloppy, sealed track.
New York Hero, a half brother to Airdrie Stud's multiple graded stakes-winning stallion Upstart , finished third, 2 1/4 lengths back. Stoney Bennett and Analyze Your Luck completed the order of finish.
"I was pretty excited since the day I worked him. I had confidence today. I knew he was not going to give up because I knew he was a fighter, and I knew he was going to come back. Even though (Morning Breez) passed me, my horse just got up," Garcia said.
"I think horses can be surprised sometimes when they see the mud, but he is really professional. It didn't matter where he was, I think he was just ready to win today."
Bred by Lansdowne Thoroughbreds in New York, Battle Station is out of the unraced Unbridled mare Uriel. He entered the Rego Park off a fourth-place finish in the Jan. 15 Damon Runyon Stakes at Aqueduct. With three wins and a second-place finish from six starts, Battle Station has earnings of $211,334.