Ellen O’Connell’s Roman Chestnut, the longest shot on the
board, rallied to take the 31st running of the Busher Saturday
afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack, paying $93.50 to win and giving apprentice
jockey Angel Serpa his first career stakes victory.
One of two horses supplemented to the Busher along with
third-place finishing favorite Speightful Affair, Roman Chestnut was exiting a
runner-up finish in a $25,000 claimer on January 14 over the inner track.
The Busher for 3-year-old fillies marked the first
start around two turns for the daughter of Roman Ruler.
“I’ve been wanting to run this filly long forever, but the
races never filled,” winning trainer Leah Gyarmati said from Florida
after race. “I’m down here in Ocala
and started jumping up and down and making a scene right here in the
kitchen. It was a perfect ride.”
Reserved in fifth position behind pacesetter Anchorage
through a half-mile in 47.77, Roman Chestnut commenced her bid as the field
entered the stretch and continued on gamely to take the lead in the shadow of
held on to be second, a length behind Roman Chestnut. Favorite Speightful
Affair finished third.
The final time for the 1 1/16th miles was 1:45.93
over the fast inner track.
“I was confident,” Serpa said. “I thought she looked
good in the past performances. She gave me a good run when I asked her.”
With the win, Roman Chestnut more than doubled her earnings
to $72,430. She improved her career record to 6-2-1-1.
Gyarmati says she has no immediate plans for Roman
Chestnut’s next race.
“I have no idea what’s next,” she said. “She still has
conditions left. Hopefully we can find another race going long for her.”