Favorites swept the New York Stallion
Series stakes on Wednesday at Aqueduct Racetrack as Sportswriter
$100,000 Thunder Rumble and Sunny Desert
overcame a troubled start to win the
$100,000 Staten Island for fillies and mares.
Sportswriter, who in August won a NYSS on the turf at
Saratoga, was kept in the clear by Javier Castellano as he raced in fourth behind
an opening quarter-mile in 23.36 seconds, made a four-wide run to engage the
leaders through a half in 47.16, led into the stretch, and resisted a late
challenge from Anaphylaxis to win by three-quarters of a length.
“I wanted to time it just right and not move too soon,” said
Castellano. “When I asked him, he responded so well. Today, it worked out
perfect for him.”
The final time for seven furlongs was 1:24.22, with
Sportswriter paying $2.40 for a $2 win wager as the 1-5 favorite.
Sportswriter, who was sixth in the Groovy overnight stakes
on the turf at Belmont Park in September and fourth in Belmont’s Hudson for New
York-breds on October 20, is now 5-3-1 in 16 lifetime starts and has earned $283,684,
including $60,000 for his Thunder Rumble victory. The 3-year-old gelded son of
Mabry’s Boy is owned by Michael Dubb and Michael Imperio, who bought him for
$60,000 at auction last December from Flying Zee Stables.
“He’s been very good since we got him, and he’s always
trained very, very good,” said trainer Rudy Rodriguez. “We got very lucky to
buy him. He’s as solid as they come and tries every time. If they go easy on
the lead, he can be on the lead, or he can stay behind. This was a good race
for him, and he got the job done.”
Anaphylaxis finished a neck ahead of third-place finisher
Maggie’s Hadder, who in turn was a neck in front of Game Token. Frisky Warrior,
Keltic Fighter, and Dave’s Shadow completed the order of finish.
Sunny Desert ran her winning streak to five with a 2 ¾-length
triumph in the Staten Island, also contested
at seven furlongs.
Sandwiched at the start by Haldane and Mah Jong Maddnes, Sunny Desert
was content to race in fourth through fractions of 23.39 and 47.01, circled the
field to offer her bid, and out-kicked Lady On the Run in the final furlong.
“I got squeezed between the two horses next to me [at the
start] and she was a little bit further back than I thought she’d be, but she
was much the best. It’s hard to say what her best distance is; I tried to get
her going a little earlier, coming off a mile race. But once she gets in gear,
she’s all business.”
All five of Sunny
Desert’s wins have come
during the streak, which began in March when she broke her maiden by 15 ¼
lengths at Aqueduct in her sixth start. Since then, she has added wins in the
NYSS Park Avenue in May at Belmont, an optional claimer in July at Saratoga, and Belmont’s
Judy Soda overnight night stakes on September 14.
“She’s shown that she’s versatile,” said John Parisella, who
trains Sunny Desert for Saul J. and Max Kupferberg.
“You don’t like [troubled starts], but nothing stops her right now. She’s
special. You don’t have many fillies like that. They have that one style, and
everything has to come up right. That’s what makes her special; things don’t
have to come up right.”
Sunny Desert, a 3-year-old who has earned $266,750 to date,
is by Wild Desert.
Jitney was third, followed home by Haldane and Mah Jong