Heart Butte continued his upward ascent as he
led home a Todd Pletcher exacta in the Evening Attire on Saturday at Aqueduct
Shadowed on the lead by fellow Pletcher trainee Alma d’Oro
through an opening quarter mile in a dawdling 26.58, Heart Butte briefly
relinquished the lead to his stablemate as they inched toward a half-mile in
51.67. After regaining a narrow advantage along the inside as they rounded the
far turn, Heart Butte kicked strongly in the stretch to prevail by one length
over Alma d’Oro, who held second by a nose over Arson Squad.
“Even though there was a leisurely pace and they went just as
slow as I did, there was a sprint home and they were coming at him,” said
winning jockey David Cohen. “He just gave it to me every step of the way
and I don’t think he should be overlooked just because of the slow pace.
He still had to put forth a great effort – every time they came to him, he
just gave me more.”
who raced with blinkers for the first time four starts back, has now won three
straight, having previously taken a Churchill Downs allowance on November 7 and
an Aqueduct optional claimer on December 5.
“The blinkers kept him focused, but at the same time he was very
settled,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to winning trainer Todd
Pletcher. “When he was called upon, he finished up well, and it looks
like he had another gear. The pace was slow, but he wasn’t strangled down
to do it.”
the 2-1 third choice in the Evening Attire, returned $6.50 for a $2 win wager
and completed the 1 1/16-mile journey over the fast inner track in 1:46.08. The
4-year-old son of Empire Maker was bred in Kentucky by Dinwiddie Farm and is owned by
Goombada Guska and More Than a Reason completed the order of finish.