Inner track dynamo Inherit the Gold reeled off a fifth
consecutive win Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack, brilliantly
transferring his form to the main track to take the 99th running of
the Grade 3, $100,000 Excelsior.
It was the first graded stakes victory for the 5-year-old
son of Gold Token, who patiently stalked front-running Understatement through
early fractions of 24.75 and 49.47. Easily overtaking the pacesetter as they
turned for home, Inherit the Gold drew off to win by 6 ¼ lengths.
Sent off as the 7-5 favorite in the field of five, Inherit
the Gold completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.34 returned $4.80 to his backers in the
Caribbean Day crowd of 6,317.
“It was a perfect trip,” said Jimmy Hooper, who earned his
first graded stakes win as a trainer in the Excelsior. “Eddie [Castro] knew he
might have to stay a little closer today and he did. It’s whenever he decides
he wants to make the move. Eddie’s done a great job with him.”
Castro piloted the New York-bred gelding to all four of his
inner track victories this winter – two optional claimers, the Mr.
International overnight stakes and the Kings Point – and has been Inherit the
Gold’s regular rider since October.
“There was only one horse with speed in the race, so I could
stay fairly close,” Castro said of the Excelsior. “I rode him the same today; I
didn’t want to change. When I asked him to move, he did. He’s getting better.
It was a tough race today. There were a lot of nice horses.”
Now 7-3-2 from 14 career starts, 12 of them in state-bred
company, Inherit the Gold earned $60,000 for today’s victory, boosting his
lifetime bankroll to $288,601.
Modern Cowboy completed the exacta, followed by Understatement,
More Than a Reason and Goombada Guska.
“We just listen to what [the horse] tells us,”
said Hooper, who co-bred the gelding and trains him for wife Susanne and
Glas-Tipp Stable. “He’s a very, very smart horse, way smarter than we
are. I’m just going to enjoy this one; who knows where we’ll go
next? I want him to be happy. As long as this horse is happy, we’ll have a
lot of fun.”