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Heart Butte Prevails in Evening Attire

Heart Butte continued his upward ascent as he led home a Todd Pletcher exacta in the Evening Attire on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.


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.”


Heart Butte, 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.”


Heart Butte, 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 Claude Paul. 


Goombada Guska and More Than a Reason completed the order of finish.



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