Making the most of his final opportunity to
win a race in 2011, Spa City Fever held off a pair of late challenges to post a
$71.00 upset in the $75,000 Alex M. Robb, a race for New York-breds 3-years-old
and up on New Year’s Eve at Aqueduct Racetrack.
City Fever, who entered
the Robb 0-2-3 in eight starts in 2011, assumed the lead in the opening furlong
and maintained a one-length advantage over favored Groomedforvictory through
fractions of 25.14, 50.89, and 1:15.39. Groomedforvictory inched closer to Spa
City Fever in the stretch and Icabad Crane made a late surge from between
horses, but the pacesetter held on to hit the wire a head in front. Icabad
Crane finished a neck ahead of Groomedforvictory in second.
Off at 34-1, Spa City Fever completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.71.
“When the first quarter went in 25 and the second quarter in 50,
I was very happy,” said winning jockey Alan Garcia. “My horse was
nice and relaxed, and I knew he would have something left at the end. He really
The Alex M. Robb marked the first stakes victory for Spa City Fever, a
5-year-old gelding who is 5-2-7 in 22 career starts and has earned $236,568,
including the $45,000 winner’s share of the Robb purse.
In his two most recent efforts, Spa City Fever was sixth against open
company in an optional claimer December 9 and fourth in the Adirondack Holme
overnight stakes for New York-breds November 20 at Aqueduct.
“He tries hard,” said Pat Kelly, who trains the son of
Roaring Fever for owner/breeder Adam Madkour. “He ran a bunch of
almost-winning races last year, and we had a minor setback over the summer that
cost us a bit of time. He got a little vacation, and we’ve been ready to
go for the winter. He likes this track. I told Alan to ‘go for it because
you’ve got the inside.’ That’s his best race, anyway.”
Prior to the Alex M. Robb, Kelly’s most recent stakes victory
came in April when Spa City Princess, a 4-year-old full sister to Spa City
Fever, won the Chase the Dream overnight stakes at Aqueduct.
Inherit the Gold finished fourth in the Robb, followed home by
Stormy’s Majesty, Tap Attack, and Midnight Billy. Uncle T Seven was