House Rules Fights for Top Flight Win
April 11, 2015 02:15pm
House Rules, winner of the 2015 Top Flight
Photo: NYRA Photo

House Rules, a former protégé of the late Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens, prevailed in a desperate three-horse scramble to the wire to score a popular victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap for older fillies and mares on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

A 4-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor, House Rules made a name for herself last winter in Florida, where, under the care of Jerkens, she finished second in the Grade 2 Davona Dale and Grade 2 Gulfstream Oaks.

Transferred to Jerkens' son, Jimmy, later in the year after some uninspiring starts, the dark bay or brown filly logged a pair of wins on the New York Racing Association circuit before becoming a stakes winner in her 4-year-old debut - the Bal Harbour Handicap at Gulfstream. In her next start, House Rules became a graded stakes winner, taking the Grade 3 Rampart at Gulfstream by 1 ½ lengths.

"When we got her to Florida, we didn't know what to make of the race in the Comely [her final start as a 3-year-old]," said Jerkens. "But once she got down there, she was like a bear, so we just ran her. She's funny ... when she gets strangled off a slow pace, or you drag her too far back, she gets discouraged. That's what happened to her in a couple of those bad races."

Sent off as the 2-5 favorite in the Top Flight, House Rules found a cozy spot along the rail in the early stages of the 1 1/8-mile race - waiting patiently as Amulay led the field through fractions of 24.66 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 48.74 for the half, and 1:13.86 for three-quarters, with Shayjolie and Before You Know It in close pursuit - and continued to save ground as the field rounded the far turn.

With front-runners Shayjolie and Before You Know It in her sights turning for home, House Rules swung out into the three-path under Junior Alvarado and kicked into gear, but could not make an appreciable dent in the leaders' advantage in early stretch. By the eighth pole, it appeared any of the three could win, but a determined House Rules found another gear in the final sixteenth and swept past the pair to prevail by a half-length.

"I had a good trip the whole way saving ground," said Alvarado. "That's what Jimmy [Jerkens] told me to do, so we could take advantage of our position by stalking and just seeing what horses I could follow. As soon as I tipped her out at the five-sixteenths pole, I thought I had them already, but the horses in front all of a sudden started to get away from me before I started asking my filly. But I have to say, I had the best horse, and that's probably why she was able to get up and get the win at the end."

House Rules completed the distance in 1:52.41 and returned $2.80 on a $2 win wager. The win boosted her bankroll to $533,703.

Before You Know It finished second, a head in front of Shayjolie. Joint Return, Agawa, Holiday's Jewel, Jcs American Dream and Amulay completed the order of finish.

Source: NYRA Communications


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