prevailed at 9-1 in the Grade 2, $200,000 Go for Wand Handicap on
Friday at Aqueduct Racetrack, helping set up a $109,248 Pick 6
carryover into Saturday’s Heineken Holidayfest card, which includes the
Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile Handicap and three other graded stakes.
Seeking her first victory at the graded level, Nefertini was
away in fourth but soon moved into second to press Fantasy of Flight,
the odds-on pacesetter, through opening fractions of 23.99 and 46.92
seconds, then took command nearing the quarter pole.
Willet offered her challenge with three-sixteenths to travel, but
Nefertini refused to yield during a lengthy stretch battle, holding on
to win by a neck.
“I was very close to the speed,” said winning jockey Alan Garcia.
“[Trainer Alan Goldberg] said to put her right in the game. [Willet]
came to me, and [Nefertini] was fighting and didn’t want to get beat.”
The final time for one mile was 1:35.80. Nefertini paid $20 for a $2 win wager.
Nefertini, a 4-year-old daughter of Empire Maker, won the Monmouth
Beach in May, then was fourth in Monmouth Park’s Grade 2 Molly Pitcher
on July 29. Following a layoff, she returned to finish third in the
Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Handicap on October 27 at Belmont Park, her
final start prior to the Go for Wand.
Trained by Goldberg for Robert E. Masterson, Nefertini is 5-2-1 in
10 career starts. The Go for Wand victory, worth $120,000, lifted her
career earnings to $316,320.
Hard Life was third, followed home by R Gypsy Gold and Fantasy of Flight.