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Wicked Strong Flying Under the Radar

Third place finisher Wicked Strong in the paddock before the 2013 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct
© Vanessa Ng
Photo: Vanessa Ng
Honor Code and Cairo Prince staged a memorable stretch drive in the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 30, when their protracted duel resulted in the former coming back to register a nose decision over the later. The thrilling finish of the 1 1/8-mile stakes for 2-year-olds was so memorable that a strong performance by the third-place finisher may have gone underappreciated.            

Wicked Strong, who broke a little awkwardly from the starting gate, rallied from several lengths back to finish just a half-length behind the dueling 1-2 finishers despite racing a bit greenly through the lane. The finish of the son of Hard Spun was particularly impressive considering how slow the pace was in the Remsen, in which the first half-mile was run in 52.74 seconds.            

“People still don’t know how to gauge the race because it was so slow – the pace was so slow,” trainer James Jerkens said. “It was incredibly slow and they sprinted home. He was going faster than all of them.”            

Wicked Strong, who breezed five furlongs at Palm Meadows in 1:00 4/5 Saturday, is set to clash again with Cairo Prince in Saturday’s $400,000 Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park.            

Wicked Strong had previously debuted at Belmont with a second-place finish in a six-furlong sprint in late September before breaking his maiden at a mile.            

“He beat a nice horse. The horse that was second of John Shirreff’s ended up going out to California to win his next race,” said Jerkens, referring to Cool Samurai, who won next out at Santa Anita. “I think it was a nice field my colt beat and he came back good and ran good in the Remsen. All his races are legit.”            

Wicked Strong is owned by Centennial Farms, the ownership syndicate best known for Colonial Affair’s 1993 Belmont Stakes victory.            

“He’s a nice colt; he’s got good wind; he’s good and strong; and he’s got a bit of a streak in him, which is good,” Jerkens said. “He’s a tough horse to handle, but he puts it all together on the track. He doesn’t cheat on the track. He’s all business when he gets out there.”                       



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