Race of the Week 2017

Amberjack Resting Comfortably Following NY Derby Win

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Amberjack was resting comfortably at trainer Mike Hushion’s barn in Saratoga on Sunday morning, following his impressive 6 ½-length victory in Saturday’s $150,000 New York Derby at Finger Lakes.


The win, coupled with his triumph in the $125,000 Mike Lee Handicap at Belmont Park on June 1, puts Amberjack in line to clinch the Big Apple Triple for New York-breds which concludes with the $150,000 Albany Handicap at Saratoga on August 21.


There is a $250,000 bonus for the connections of a horse that sweeps all three legs. Tin Cup Chalice in 2008 is the only horse to do so since the series was originated in 1999.


“It’s pretty interesting being a triple crown trainer,” Hushion said. “The crew all came back last night. He’s doing fine.”


Owned by Peachtree Stable, Amberjack has won three straight races including the seven-furlong Mike Lee and the New York Derby, which is contested at 1 1/16 miles.


Hushion said he was not concerned about stretching out the chestnut Indygo Shiner colt, who is 4-for-6 lifetime with $255,355 in purse earnings.


Ridden by Jose Espinoza, Amberjack broke from the rail in the six-horse New York Derby field, swung three wide heading into the stretch and split rivals before catching Smooth Bert at the eighth pole and drawing away.


“I was pretty confident in the two turns,” Hushion said. “Usually, I like to see it first, but I didn’t think it would be a problem. When you’re getting rated down on the inside, it usually doesn’t work out that good. He ate a lot of dirt, more than he has probably ever before.


“I still wasn’t sure at the top of the stretch until he hit that seam and took off. Wow. Fast horses do great things. It doesn’t matter how the race sets up.”


Amberjack will stretch out again in the Albany, which is run at 1 1/8 miles.


“It shouldn’t be a problem, if things stay like they have been,” Hushion said. “It’s a nice amount of time.”


Meanwhile, Hushion said Bridgehampton will miss Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Prioress after spiking a fever. The daughter of Bernardini was caught late and finished second in the Grade 3 Victory Ride on June 29 at Belmont Park in her most recent start.


“She’ll probably miss a week,” Hushion said. “We’ll give her two weeks to get back, so it’ll probably be three weeks from now when she’ll be ready to run. We’ll wait and see.”


Hushion remains pleased with the progress of Breeders’ Cup Sprint runner-up The Lumber Guy, who he hopes to bring back to defend his title in the Grade 1 Vosburgh. The Lumber Guy was seventh as the favorite in his lone start this year, the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita on February 23.


“I’m very happy with him,” Hushion said. “We’ll find some sort of an overnight stakes to get him pointed toward the Vosburgh.”




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