We had a great day of racing at Aqueduct! Five graded stakes races worth over $1.6 million in stakes purses got off the ground. Kentucky Derby and Oaks points were awarded, plus a humongous upset in the featured race, the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2). Let's get to recapping.
The $750K Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) was won by BOURBONIC, ridden by Kendrick Carmouche, trained by Todd Pletcher, owned by Calumet Farm — in a 72-1 upset, rallying from the back of the pack to beat stablemate DYNAMIC ONE.
BOURBONIC broke evenly and settled toward the rear of the field for Kendrick Carmouche, while the front runners, MARKET MAVEN and WEYBURN, pushed a comfortable tempo of 24.88 for the first quarter, 50.18 for the half mile. They raced compact along the backside except for BOURBONIC, who was another five lengths behind in reserve. As they approached the turn for home, BOURBONIC is nudged to get in contention and he improves nicely! Although still in last place, BOURBONIC catches up to tail of the pack and turns on the jets with a furlong left to go. He has to split horses to get into the clear, while on the front end its still WEYBURN, DYNAMIC ONE, and CROWDED TRADE to catch. But BOURBONIC is motoring home, and he runs by them all to reach the wire first by a head over stablemate DYNAMIC ONE, who ran well to keep second. CROWDED TRADE got up for third. The final time for the one mile and one-eighth was 1:54.49.
BOURBONIC paid $146.50 to win, $40.40 to place, and $11.40 to show. He is by BERNARDINI out of DANCING AFLEET by AFLEET ALEX. He improves to 3 wins and 1 second out of 6 total starts, with earnings pushed to $465,880. He achieved his highest speed figure to date, as well as earn 100 qualifying points for his Road to the Kentucky Derby, which moves him up to 7th on the Derby Leaderboard.
The $150K Excelsior Stakes (G3) was won by MODERNIST, ridden by Junior Alvarado, trained by Bill Mott, owned by Pam and Martin Wygod — in a gutsy score, shrugging off the late charge by HAIKAL in deep stretch.
The 8-5 favorite MODERNIST broke the slowest but recovered, for Junior Alvarado, to take a tracking trip behind BACKSIDEOFTHEMOON, who led the field through an opening quarter of 25.54 and a half of 52.08. They ran pedestrian fractions as they raced bunched up along the backside, no more than three lengths covering them front to back. Junior Alvarado pushes the button with three furlongs to go and MODERNIST forges to the lead. But he has to hold off HAIKAL who commences a rally of his own to their outside. The two of them, MODERNIST and HAIKAL, hookup in the stretch but MODERNIST maintains his advantage determinedly! He keeps HAIKAL at bay and kicks away late to win by two and half lengths. HAIKAL was a game second, LIMONITE ran third. The final time for the one mile and one-eighth was 1:54.38.
MODERNIST paid $5.30 to win, $3.30 to place, and $2.10 to show. He is by UNCLE MO out of SYMBOLIC GESTURE by BERNARDINI. He earns his third career victory, pushing his earnings to $520,300. He reaches the winner's circle for the first time since his Risen Star (G2) score in February 2020. Since returning from his eight-month layoff, he has put together his fastest two races; each cracking triple digits on the Equibase Speed scale. The freshening has brought MODERNIST back to the top of his game!
The $200K Carter Handicap (G1) was won by MISCHEVIOUS ALEX, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., owned by Cash is King LLC and LC Racing — in an impressive five-length score.
MISCHEVIOUS ALEX broke out on top but was positioned to rate in midpack, conceding the lead to CHATEAU who set the pace of 23.09 and 45.89 for opening quarters. MISCHEVIOUS ALEX was content to race on the 2path along the backside, still in midpack as they approached the turn for home. Now CHATEAU tries to give the field the slip; he sneaks away to a four length advantage as they hit the stretch. But MISCHEVIOUS ALEX is confidently handled by Irad Ortiz Jr.; he's closing the gap with every stride. Once he's set down for the drive, MICHEVIOUS ALEX sets dead aim on his target and blows past CHATEAU, drawing off to win by five lengths. MIND CONTROL rallied to get up for second, SOUPER STONEHENGE got up for third. The final time for the seven furlongs on dirt was 1:23.97.
MISCHEVIOUS ALEX paid $3.70 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. He is by INTO MISCHIEF out of WHITE PANTS NIGHT by SPEIGHTSTOWN. He earns his first Grade 1 victory, while earning his third win in a row. He pushes his overall earnings to $614,730, while achieving his highest speed figure to date.
The $200K Bay Shore Stakes (G3) was won by DRAIN THE CLOCK, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., owned by Slam Dunk Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Wonder Stables, and Michael Nentwig — in an easy, gate-to-wire performance.
The 1-5 favorite DRAIN THE CLOCK had the quickest foot leaving the gate and raced up the backstretch to set early fractions of 23.68 and 47.95. He felt pressure from BEREN to his outside while the group raced compact, two lengths covering them front to back. Turning for home, DRAIN THE CLOCK is still going strong; he widens to a five length advantage with a sixteenth left to run. WHISKEY DOUBLE makes an impressive run in mid stretch to come within two lengths of the lead, but by then Irad Ortiz Jr. has geared DRAIN THE CLOCK down as they cross the wire first for the victory. TOO BOSS was another five lengths back in third. The final time for the seven furlong event was 1:25.97.
DRAIN THE CLOCK paid $2.70 to win, $2.10 to place. He is by MACLEAN'S MUSIC out of MANKI by ARCH. He improves his record to 5 wins and 1 second out of 7 total starts. He pushed his earnings to $319,550 with his return to sprinting.
The $250K Gazelle Stakes (G3) was won by SEARCH RESULTS, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., trained by Chad Brown, owned by Klaravich Stables, Inc — in a dominant score.
SEARCH RESULTS broke alertly for Irad Ortiz Jr. and was forwardly placed entering the first turn. She conceded the lead to ALWAYZ LATE who set the early pace of 24.88 and 50.09. They ran a comfortable pace with SEARCH RESULTS rating patiently, in hand, along the backside. But turning for home, they quicken; THE GRASS IS BLUE commences her rally from the back of the pack, joined by MARACUJA and ARMY WIFE who move up menacingly in tandem. When they hit the stretch, Irad Ortiz Jr., says go on SEARCH RESULTS and she responds immediately. They spurt clear to a three length advantage. MARACUJA emerges as the only closer making serious ground, but SEARCH RESULTS is still running strongly. She holds MARACUJA at bay and maintains a three length lead all the way to the wire. MARACUJA ran well to be second, ARMY WIFE ran third. The final time for one mile and one-eighth distance was 1:54.14.
SEARCH RESULTS paid $2.80 to win, $2.30 to place, and $2.10 to show. She is by FLATTER out of CO COLA by CANDY RIDE. This marks her third consecutive victory as she pushes her earnings to $299,000. She earns 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks, which gives her 150 total points and moves her up to first in the Oaks Leaderboard!