American Power made his first stakes appearance in 16 months a winning one, dueling in the stretch before taking command in the final sixteenth of a mile to win the $145,500 Toboggan Stakes (G3) by a half-length Jan. 30 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Owned by Sanford and Irwin Goldfarb, and the Estate of Ira Davis, American Power made his first stakes appearance since running fourth in the Vosburgh Stakes (G1) in September 2019 at Belmont Park. The 6-year-old son of Power Broker broke on top from the outermost post under jockey Kendrick Carmouche and pressed Pete's Play Call, who led the five-horse field through slow fractions of :24.08 and :48.11 on the fast main track.
Pete's Play Call, under Jorge Vargas Jr., maintained his slim lead out of the turn, staying near the rail as American Power sustained pressure to his outside. The duo continued to go stride-for-stride until American Power earned the advantage in deep stretch, completing seven furlongs in 1:24.28.
American Power, trained by Rob Atras, won his third consecutive race overall in taking the first graded stakes of 2021 on the New York Racing Association calendar. The effort built on his victory by a head against $40,000 claimers Oct. 12 going a mile at Belmont, followed by a 3 1/4-length score against optional claimers at seven furlongs Dec. 11 at the Aqueduct.
He had been claimed by his connections for $40,000 in late July at Saratoga Race Course.
"He had been training well going in," Atras said. "When Kendrick rode him last time, he broke sharp and it seemed like he really got his confidence back. Kendrick had a game plan going in and it worked out great. The outside post definitely helped."
American Power, bred in Kentucky by Gary and Mary West Stables and the stakes winner out of the Fusaichi Pegasus mare Catch the Spirit, returned $9.50 on a $2 win wager. He improved his career earnings to $499,359 with his 10th win in 29 starts, and also netted Atras his first graded stakes victory.
"It feels great. I'm not sure if it's relief or what it is, but it's just a great feeling," said Atras, who trained his first winner in 2009.
Carmouche, the winter meet's leading rider, registered his second Toboggan win, adding to his 2017 triumph aboard Green Gratto.
"I had the best position looking at the whole screen," Carmouche said. "I thought Manny (Franco, aboard Share the Ride) would go a little bit with the other horse, but I had him in the position where he had to take back. I let the one horse go as easy as he can. When I got to the three-eighths pole I had so much horse I just made it a race home."
American Power improved to 3-for-3 since Atras removed blinkers.
"These older horses know how to run," Atras said. "When they're younger sometimes the blinkers helped because they need to focus up a bit. It came to the point where he didn't really need them. It's all about having confidence, ability, and heart, and he has all three."