Skyler's Scramjet wins the Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack

Skyler's Scramjet wins the Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack

Coglianese Photos

Skyler's Scramjet Takes Tom Fool on Gotham Undercard

Divine Miss Grey won Heavenly Prize, Harlan Punch took Stymie.

Skyler's Scramjet's first foray into a stakes race was hardly memorable—he finished eighth in the 2017 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park.

Some 14 months later, his return to stakes company proved to be a smashing success as the Creative Cause  gelding motored to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap (G3), one of four stakes on the March 10 card at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Owned by SJB Stable and Marcello Micozzi, Skyler's Scramjet battled for the early lead with Green Grotto and then spurted clear to grab a four-length lead at the eighth pole, which was enough of a cushion to hold off a late bid by runner-up Do Share.

The win was the third straight for the 4-year-old gelding, following up scores in a pair of optional claiming allowance races at Aqueduct that convinced trainer Michelle Nevin to try the 4-year-old in a graded stakes.

"(Jockey Trevor McCarthy) had plenty of horse when he asked him in the upper stretch to finish. We'll see how he comes out of this race and from there decide where we go next. He certainly ran huge today so that's encouraging," Nevin said.

The win was fifth in 10 career starts for Skyler's Scramjet and pushed his career earnings to $292,872. Bred by Tommy G. Ligon in Kentucky, He was purchased by his current owners for $70,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic sale after he was originally bought for $25,000 at 2015 Fasig-Tipton fall yearling sale by Rod McVey.

Great Stuff was third and was followed under the wire by Life In Shambles, Classy Class, Spartiatis, Threefiveindia, Candid Desire, and Green Grotto. 

A 5-2 favorite, Skyler's Scramjet paid $7.10 to win and was clocked in 1:11.38 for the six furlongs on a fast track.

Video: Tom Fool H. (G3)

Also on a card topped by the $300,000 Gotham Stakes (G3), Corms Racing Stable's Divine Miss Grey made up for lost time in the $150,000 Heavenly Prize Invitational.

Denied a chance to run in the graded Barbara Fritchie (G2) at Laurel Park last month due to a quarantine of horses from her Belmont Park base, the 4-year-old Divine Park filly was hustled to the lead shortly after the break by jockey Kenrick Carmouche in the Heavenly Prize, and posted a front-running 6 3/4-length triumph to record her third straight victory for Corms and trainer Danny Gargan.

Bred in Kentucky by Brereton C. Jones, Divine Miss Grey was coming off a victory in the Interborough Stakes at Aqueduct in her last start. Claimed for $16,000 on March 15, 2017, she improved her career record to eight wins in 15 starts with earnings of $383,672.

Holiday Disguise was second, 9 3/4 lengths ahead of Frost Wise. Boule and grade 2 winner Highway Star rounded out the order of finish.

A 6-5 favorite, Divine Miss Grey was timed in 1:38.13 for the mile.

"I thought it was an impressive performance. We've been lucky enough to have a great claim. It's great to see horses that come out of claiming races winning stakes in back-to-back races at Aqueduct. That helps the game a lot," Gargan said. "There's a grade 1 at Keeneland (the April 7 Madison Stakes), and also a graded stakes coming up here, the Distaff (G3, April 6), so we'll weight our options. It's going to be one of the two races."

Video: Heavenly Prize Invitational S. (BT)

In the $150,000 Stymie Handicap, the David Jacobson-owned and trained Harlan Punch took command approaching the quarter pole and drew off to a seven-length victory for his initial stakes win.

The 5-year-old Harlan's Holiday gelding posted a third straight win since Feb.15, with the two previous victories coming in optional allowance races at Aqueduct, to increase his career record to seven wins in 27 starts with earnings of $571,993. 

Bred in Kentucky by Rosemont Farm, Harlan Punch was claimed for $40,000 by Jacobson on Aug. 27 of last year.  Earlier in his career, he was third back in the 2015 edition of the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (G3).

Backsideofthemoon was second, three lengths ahead of Hit It Once More.

Harlan Punch ($5.90), the 9-5 second-choice in a field of seven, covered the flat mile in 1:38.03 under jockey Dylan Davis and might run again next weekend.

"Once in a while you get lucky. He's been training very well, and I knew if I can just get him running, and get him in the groove, and the races fall in the right spots, and the races go, and those kind of things, that we can get him going good. Now he's home free," Jacobson said. "We might run him next Saturday in Maryland, at a mile and an eighth (in the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes at Laurel). We're pointing for it, and again it'll be up to him, and it's how he comes out of the race. But the way he ran though, he didn't even run today, he didn't run last week, and he didn't run today (in winning). We might not have seen the real Harlan Punch yet."

Video: Stymie S. (BT)