Just Got Out broke alertly, maintained the lead and outkicked a hard-charging Girl Talk in deep stretch for a gate-to-wire victory in the 147th running of the $100,000 Ladies Handicap for older fillies and mares on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Carded as Race 8, Just Got Out looked impressive in her first stakes appearance in seven starts, with jockey Manny Franco sending her to the front to lead the six-horse field through an opening quarter mile in 24.52 seconds and the half in 49.40 with Bombshell in close pursuit.
Out of the far turn, Bombshell made a bid for the lead, but Just Got Out retained her advantage and fended off Sherini's challenge from the rail and Girl Talk's surge from the outside for a victory by a neck, completing 1 1/8 miles in 1:55.32 on a main track labeled fast.
"The track has been playing well for speed," Franco said. "I didn't deviate from our game plan. She broke good and I had to hustle her to get the lead up front. After that, I had to ride her, because she gets a little lazy, but she never gave up. In the late stretch, she kept working and we were able to stay in front to the wire."
Owned by Sacandaga Stable and Linda Rice, who is also the trainer, Just Got Out, carrying 114 pounds, won her second straight start and posted her third win in the last five races.
"I thought maybe we had the pace advantage," Rice said. "This filly runs pretty brave on the front end, so we took advantage of that. Manny had to work awfully hard out of the gate to get the lead but I've got to say, Manny gave her a strong ride. He never gave up on this filly. She's a real stayer. She's got a lot of stamina and he was aware of that.
"It looked like her and Manny were working hard for it [turning for home], but she doesn't quit on you. She never spits the bit. I'm thrilled."
Just Got Out, at 3-1, paid $8 on a $2 win wager. The 7-year-old Harlington mare increased her career bankroll to $276,380.
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche made a strong bid, rallying Girl Talk from fourth early to a runner-up finish. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee carried 114 pounds in her stakes debut.
Bombshell, the co-highweight at 117 pounds, was placed third after Sherini was disqualified to fifth for interference in the stretch.
Inconclusive, Sherini and Majestic Angel completed the order of finish. Crimson Frost was scratched.
Earlier, Michael Dubb and David Simon's Control Group lived up to his name, commanding the group of four challengers in the 39th running of the $100,000 Alex M. Robb in Race 3, leading wire-to-wire and winning by four lengths.
Originally scheduled for December 31, the Alex M. Robb, for older New York-breds, was postponed because of cancellations due to inclement weather.
Trained by Rudy Rodriguez, the 4-year-old Posse colt broke well and settled into the lead in the two-path with Carmouche guiding Control Group through easy fractions of 25.65 seconds for the quarter mile and 50.16 for the half.
Control Group opened up shortly before the quarter pole, expanding the lead in the stretch and coasting home under a hand ride to complete the 1 1/8 mile route in 1:52.19.
The victory was Control Group's fifth in his last six starts, including a three-length score in the Grade 3 Discovery on November 25 at the Big A. He pushed his career earnings to $381,570. Off as the 2-5 favorite, Control Group paid $2.90 on a $2 win bet.
"It was a very good performance. He loves going two turns," Rodriguez said. "The couple weeks we've had off waiting for the race, it looked like it benefitted him. I knew he was only going to get stronger coming off the race he ran last time."
Can You Diggit finished second followed by Extinct Charm, Testosterstone, and Wake Up in Malibu. Papa Shot was scratched.
Source: NYRA Communications (Brian Bohl and Michael Johnson)