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Driven By Success Beats General Maximus

Driven by Success put away favored General Maximus at the eighth pole and drew clear to a 3 ¼-length victory in Sunday’s $75,000 Thunder Rumble Division of the New York Stallion Series at Aqueduct Racetrack, giving jockey John Velazquez his fifth winner of the afternoon.


Breaking sharply, the 5-year-old son of Precise End hounded pacesetting General Maximus through an opening quarter-mile in 22.43 and a half-mile in 44.59 as the pair opened up by six lengths on the rest of the field. Rounding the turn, Driven by Success ranged up alongside the favorite and after a short battle, took command with 220 yards to go, hitting the wire in 1:21.74 for the seven furlongs.


“It was basically a two-horse race, so the only one I had to worry about was General Maximus and I needed to put a bit of pressure on him,” said Velazquez, who also won the NYSS Staten Island Division with Big Brownie and the Memories of Silver overnight stakes with Unbridled Humor earlier in the day. “Driven by Success broke well enough that I was right next to him.”


The victory was the fourth from 11 starts this year for Driven by Success, who is owned by Mike Repole and trained by Todd Pletcher. In addition to a pair of optional claiming races at Belmont Park, the gelding won the Vic Ziegel Memorial Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. With the winner’s purse of $45,000 from the race, restricted to horses sired by New York-based stallions, he has now earned $525,719.


“He’s an extremely talented horse,” said Pletcher, who last week saddled Repole’s Uncle Mo to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. “When he breaks well, he’s capable of running some really huge races. We did a little extra gate work with him between races, and it paid off.”


Driven by Success, the narrow second 6-5 choice, returned $4.50 for a $2 win bet and extended his lifetime record to 8-4-5 from 25 starts.


“He was my first stakes winner and will always have a special place in my heart,” said Repole. “Whenever he races it means so much to me. This win means he deserves to be the top New York-bred sprinter this year.”


Longshot Good Card closed to be third, followed by Uncle T Seven and Make Note.



In the $75,000 Staten Island for fillies and mares, Big Brownie rallied strongly along the inside and went onto a 5 ¾-length victory over We Need V L T’s.


The 4-year-old Wheelaway filly sat fourth as 1-4 favorite Mother Russia led the field of six through fractions of 22.91 and 46.70. Turning for home, Velazquez sent Big Brownie through an opening on the rail and she responded with a powerful late kick that carried her to the wire in 1:22.91.


“That was perfect,” said Velazquez. “She was brave enough to squeeze through and when I asked her, she responded right away. You have to have the horse to do that, and it worked out well.”


In snapping a four-race losing streak, Big Brownie returned $26 as the 12-1 fourth choice in the race.


“I’ve only had her a few weeks – [former trainer Peter Pugh] was leaving for Florida and as she is a New York-bred, the smart thing seemed to be leaving her here for the winter,” said Leah Gyarmati, who also owns part of the filly with Wide Rill Farm. “I breezed her once since her last race, and kind of coasted into this.”


Raffie’s Rose was third, followed by Mother Russia, Bretton Woods, and Healthy Debate.

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