Carrumba Caps Off Emotional Week for Phipps Stable in Top Flight
April 10, 2016 01:38pm
Carrumba wins 2016 Top Flight
Photo: NYRA

Making her first return to the races since winning the Grade 3 Comely last year at Aqueduct Racetrack, Carrumba capped off an emotional week for owners Phipps Stable, winning the Grade 3, $200,000 Top Flight for Fillies and mares 4-years-old and up on Sunday at the Big A.

Departing from post position 5 with Jose Ortiz aboard, Carrumba quickly moved to settle in second position stalking Mei Ling who led the field of four through early fractions of 25.22 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 49.16 for the half. 

As Mei Ling reached the quarter-pole, Carrumba was given her cue and paired up alongside the leader as the pair separated themselves from the rest of the field at the top of the stretch. The two ensued in a head-to-head battle towards the wire with Carrumba prevailing in a final drive to secure the victory by a half-length.

Her final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:50.26

"I was very confident down the backside, but I was a little surprised that Mei Ling [No. 3] fought me as hard as she did in the home stretch," said Ortiz. "I rode her last time and she's a fighter too, I knew she'd fight a little bit because we went easy early. She [Mei Ling] got away from me a little, but I knew I could catch her. Mr. Shug McGaughey and his assistant Robbie did a great job bringing her back at 100% from her long layoff, and I think that's why we got the win."

Sent off as the 3-5 post-time favorite, the Shug McGuaghey trainee returned $3.30 for a $2 win wager while boosting her career earnings to $357,600 for Phipps stable, who this past Thursday lost patriarch, prominent thoroughbred owner, breeder, and former head of the The Jockey Club, Ogden "Dinny" Phipps who passed at the age of 75.

"Absolutely this win was emotional," said Ogden Phipps, II, son of Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps. "Our first time back at the races and it's obviously a big part of how we grew up with my Dad. Coming back here and seeing a filly that he really loved and winning a stake is very emotional. Every time one of our horses runs in his colors I think it's going to be emotional for us."

Following Mei Ling in second was America and Noble and a Beauty. Saythreehailmary's was scratched from the race.

Five races later in the Danger's Hour Stakes, Macagone went wire-to-wire to best the field of six.

Leaving from post position 5 with Jose Ortiz in the irons, the 5-year-old son of Artie Schiller darted to the front unchallenged to set fractions of 24.44 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 48.41 for the half, and three-quarters in 1:12.21. 

Comfortably remaining on the lead, Macagone continued to cruise towards the wire securing a 3 ½ quarter-length victory.

His final winning time for the 1 mile race was 1:36.96.

"He wanted the speed of the race and I went to the lead early," said Ortiz. "It's good to have speed in a race on the turf because the turns here at Aqueduct are tight and the horses come from behind sometimes and they don't want to go to the wire. This is a nice horse, he looked great today, and Michelle Nihei brought him back really well."

It was the first victory of 2016 for Macagone, trained by Michelle Nihei and last coming off a third-place finish on December 12 in the El Prado Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Returning $14.80 for a $2 win wager, and with a winner's purse of $60,000, Macagone has now amassed $295,742 for owner Trinity Farm.

Takeover Target was along in second with Fredericksburg checking in third. Legendary, Lubash, and Late Night Lu completed the order of finish. Mosler was scratched from the race.

Source: NYRA Communications (Najja Thompson)


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