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Fort Hughes Romps in Jimmy Winkfield

Heavily-favored Fort Hughes barreled to the lead and never looked back on route to a stakes-record victory in the 27th running of the $65,000 Jimmy Winkfield Monday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack.

 

With Royal Currier giving chase, the muscular chestnut son of Henny Hughes broke sharply and sped through an opening quarter in 22.21 and a half-mile in 44.67 under jockey Eddie Castro. As the field of six 3-year-olds turned for home, Fort Hughes began opening through the lane, and hit the wire 4 ¾ lengths ahead of Royal Currier for his second win in three starts.

 

Fort Hughes covered the six furlongs in 1:08.33, clipping three-fifths of a second off Farmonthefreeway’s 1993 stakes mark of 1:08 4/5. The inner track record is 1:07.93.

 

“He’s really coming into his own, better than we could have imagined earlier,” said Artie Magnuson, assistant to winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “We’re happy with where he is right now in terms of his development. We were very excited about him after his first race.”

 

A Darley Stable homebred, Fort Hughes made his first start at Belmont Park on October 11, rolling to a 5 ½-length victory that earned him a spot in the “New York Watch” series, which profiles up-and-coming horses as they clear the maiden ranks on the NYRA circuit. In his next start on December 21, the colt was beaten a head by Royal Currier in the Southampton at Parx Racing as the odds-on choice.

 

Sent off at 7-5 by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day crowd of 4,182, Fort Hughes returned $4.80 for a $2 win bet and lifted his earnings to $84,600.

 

“We’ll look at the Fred ‘Cappy’ Capossela [March 5] next, unless [Darley America president] Jimmy Bell and Kiaran want to take him to Florida,” said Magnuson.

Royal Currier, whose two-race stakes-winning streak was halted, was 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Rift, who was followed in turn by Bravo Romeo, Running Tap, and Bambi Bound.

 

 

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