Honor Up holds off Syndergaard to win Haynesfield at Aqueduct

Brian Bohl, for NYRA
February 17, 2019 06:28pm
Honor Up_Haynesfield 2019_615x400
Photo: Elsa Lorieul/NYRA
Saratoga Seven Partners' Honor Up took command in deep stretch and held off a surging Syndergaard to win the fourth running of the $100,000 Haynesfield by a nose on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Jockey Manny Franco sent Stoney Bennett to the front, leading the six-horse field of New York-bred 4-year-olds and up through an opening quarter-mile in 23.45 seconds, the half in 46.11 and three-quarters in 1:10.38 on the fast main track.

In the stretch, Jose Lezcano urged Honor Up, who responded by overtaking Stoney Bennett from the outside. Nearing the wire, Syndergaard, from the three-path, made a serious challenge, but Honor Up held on, completing one mile in 1:37.04 for his third straight victory.

"I thought I was going to pass out," winning trainer Michelle Nevin said. "The other horse [Syndergaard] ran a hell of a race to keep coming. That was a close, close race. I thought it was a dead heat for a second."

Honor Up, a Gold member of the NYRA Starter Loyalty Program bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds, has won four of his five starts since being transferred to Nevin. The 4-year-old To Honor and Serve colt also continued his dominance at the Big A, winning for the fourth time in five career starts [with one runner-up finish] at the track.

"We didn't have the cleanest break and that changed the dynamics of things," Nevin said. "We would have hoped to break cleanly and be sitting right behind them and relaxed. Instead, we broke awkwardly and had to get back into the race and get position. Maybe he [Lezcano] switched him on a little bit too quickly, but he did a hell of a job to keep going to get to the wire."

Off at 2-1, Honor Up returned $6.80 on a $2 win bet. He improved his career earnings to $335,513. It was also the second straight time Honor Up bested Syndergaard by a close margin following a win by a neck in the Say Florida Sandy on Jan. 12 at Aqueduct.

"It was so close. I thought he got me, but as soon as my horse saw the other horse, he dug in, but I didn't know if he got me on the wire," Lezcano said. "I think the longer you wait for him, the better for him. I got to the quarter pole, and I said it's time to go, and the last three-sixteenths, he started to wait a little bit for the other horses."

Syndergaard, a Silver member of the NYRA Starter Loyalty Program, posted his second consecutive runner-up effort in a stakes for trainer John Terranova. The 5-year-old son of Majesticperfection, under jockey Rajiv Maragh, finished 1 ½ lengths in front of 2-1 favorite Twisted Tom in his first start of at least a mile since Nov. 2016.

"He got a little lost for a second there in the stretch, but that was just a tough way to lose," Maragh said. "That's probably the shortest of margins I've ever lost a race by.

"The speed horse [Stoney Bennett] went and I decided that the pace was honest enough that I just let my horse get into a good flow," he added. "I was really happy down the backstretch. He was in a nice rhythm just bouncing along and I always felt like I had horse. He ran hard."

Fiery Opal, Stoney Bennett and Loki's Vengeance completed the order of finish.


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