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2024 Man O'War, Peter Pan, and Runhappy Stakes Results

horse racing
Flavien Prat aboard Silver Knott after winning the Man O'War.
Date: 05/11/2024

There were 4 graded stakes races at Aqueduct on Saturday afternoon, part of the "Belmont at the Big A" spring meeting. Conditions were typical for mid May on Long Island, with overcast skies and temperatures in the mid 50's, with the main track fast and the turf courses good after rain on Friday.

The feature race was the $400,000 Man o'War Stakes (G2), a 1 3/8 mile trip around 2 turns of the inner turf for older horses. A field of 9 went to post with Canadian International (G1) winner Nations Pride sent off as the 9-10 favorite off his 7th place finish in the Bahrain International Trophy (G2). In to challenge him included 4-1 second choice Silver Knott, winner of the Elkhorn (G2), and 5-1 third choice Kertez, winner of the Pan American (G2).
horse racing
Silver Knott leads down the stretch in the Man o'War

Jockey Romero Maragh sent 43-1 So High to a clear lead first time by through fractions of 24.09, 48.09, 1:13.48, and 1:38.08 while pressed by Nations Pride and stalked by Silver Knott. Turning for home, So High tired as Silver Knott gained the lead through 10f in 2:02.07. Kept to task by Flavien Prat, Silver Knott drew off to win by 4 1/2 lengths over late-running 11-1 Ohana Honor in 2:13.80. It was a neck back to Nations Pride third.

horse racing
Pgm  Horse               Jockey         Win   Place  Show
 8   Silver Knott        Prat         10.20    5.20  2.80
 1   Ohana Honor         Carmouche             9.30  4.40
 9   Nations Pride       Dettori                     4.40

Winning Time:  2:13.80

$1 Exacta 8-1                 26.00
$0.50 Trifecta 8-1-9          29.12
$0.10 Superfecta 8-1-9-5      19.77
Results Chart from DRF.

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Silver Knott in the winner's circle. Alex Merriam, assistant to winning trainer Charlie Appleby said, "They've gone a nice pace which Flavien said suits this fellow. They went steady enough last time and going a stronger gallop probably suits him better. I think [Silver Knott] has [improved]. He's been gelded and I think the step up in trip has probably helped him. If you look at his pedigree, he's probably a horse that wants a bit further. He's done nothing but improve so fingers crossed he keeps going that way."

Right: Silver Knott heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "It worked out well. He got himself into the race and I was able to follow Frankie the whole way around and he just poured it on."

horse racinghorse racing Left: Silver Knott returns after the race. Prat added, "It seemed like there were one or two horses that could go and make a really strong pace. I was intent on breaking well and getting into a good position, but after that I didn't know exactly how it would set up. Around the turn, I was traveling super well and when I called on him, the way he responded I thought I could get home."

Right: Trophy presentation for the Man o'War Stakes. Merriam added, "The plan is for (Silver Knott and Nations Pride) to ship up to Saratoga tomorrow morning and then make a plan from there. We'll see how they come out of the race."

horse racinghorse racing Left: Second place finisher Ohana Honor walks over before the race. Jockey Kendrick Carmouche said, "I had a beautiful trip. He ran his best. Those guys had the race set up from the time they left the gate 1 – 2 – 3. I just had to track them and whenever they moved, I had to get my horse out to run. [Silver Knott] was sitting third and you could see that going around there, but my horse gave me a good kick and run second. I think in a different scenario with a change of tactics in the race, I think I could have won."

Right: Third place finisher Nations Pride in the returns after the race. Alex Merriam, assistant to trainer Charlie Appleby said, "I think Frankie thought So High was going to go forward and he was keen to stalk behind him. Nations had his first run back for a while and Frankie mentioned he was a bit rusty, but he ran his race and just got tired towards the end."

horse racing
Jockey Frankie Dettori walking out of the tunnel to the paddock before the race.

Antiquarian wins the Peter Pan Stakes

The $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (G3) featured a field of 6 three-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles, one full lap of the main track, in this local prep for the Belmont Stakes which will be run at Saratoga at 1 1/4 miles this year and next. The Wine Steward was sent off as the 6-5 favorite off a close second in the Lexington (G3). In to challenge him included 11-4 second choice Deterministic, winner of the Gotham (G3) before disappointing 8th in the Wood Memorial (G2), and 11-2 third choice Antiquarian, 6th in the Louisiana Derby (G2).

Jockey Eric Cancel sent 6-1 fourth choice Unique Insight to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.95, 47.96, and 1:11.62 while pressed by The Wine Steward and stalked by Antiquarian. Turning for home Unique Insight tired allowing The Wine Steward to inherit the lead through 1 mile in 1:36.23. Antiquarian under John Velazquez took over at the 1/16 pole and held off The Wine Steward the rest of the way to win by 3/4 length in 1:48.99. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 13-2 fifth choice Protective third.

Results Chart from DRF.

Left: Antiquarian in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said,  "He ran very well in his debut and then went to Louisiana and run well. We liked the 1 3/16 mile there [Louisiana Derby] and unfortunately that didn't work out. At that point, we said, ‘let's go to the Peter Pan and see how that goes.' He's trained really well leading up to this and trained well all winter and spring. He did everything right today – he was perfect in the paddock and perfect in the gate and I think that allowed him to run his race."

Right: Antiquarian walks over to the paddock. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "I was expecting a big effort from him. He was a little spotty, but I know he can keep going that pace the whole way around. He won very nicely. We had a horrible trip [last time] – he hit the gate really bad and dragged me for 1/16 mile, then we broke slow and got squeezed a little bit. We went wide at the three-eighths pole – that was a rough trip for him. Today, everything was clean."

Left: The trophy presentation for the Peter Pan Stakes. Pletcher added, "[Going to the Belmont Stakes was] what we were thinking coming into this and he certainly earned his way in today if everything goes smoothly."

Right: Second place finisher and beaten favorite The Wine Steward returns after the race. Jockey Luis Saez said, "It was a perfect trip, that was the plan. It looked like [Unique Insight] was the speed, and we tried to follow him. He came to the top of the stretch and looked like he was going to win easy, but he got a little tired – a little bit late. I know he's better than that. At the top of the stretch, he was cruising. But when I asked him to go, he stayed the same."

Left: Third place finisher Protective in the paddock. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I haven't had a chance to talk to Irad [Ortiz, Jr.], but he was making some faces like he had some trouble there, but he ran on pretty well. We haven't decided exactly what we're going to do with everyone yet, but Fierceness has settled in well at Saratoga and seems to have come out of the Derby in good shape. We'll train with [the Belmont] in mind."

Right: The start of the Peter Pan Stakes.

Joey Freshwater wins the Runhappy Stakes

The $175,000 Runhappy Stakes (G3) featured 5 older horses sprinting 6 furlongs on the main track. Straight No Chaser, unraced since winning the Maryland Sprint (G3) last May 20, was sent off as the 7-10 favorite over 3-1 second choice Joey Freshwater off an allowance win, and 9-2 third choice Ninetyprcentmaddie, second in the Page McKenney Handicap.

Straight No Chaser was quickest away through fractions of 22.01 and 44.70 while stalked by 7-1 fourth choice Durante and stalked by Joey Freshwater. Straight No Chaser led to midstretch through 5f in 56.82 before tiring. Joey Freshwater under Jose Lezcano took over and held off late-running Ninetyprcentmaddie to win by a neck in 1:09.41. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to 19-1 longest shot Twenty Four Mamba third, and another 1/2 length to favorite Straight No Chaser fourth.

Results Chart from DRF.

Left: Joey Freshwater in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Linda Rice said, "Obviously, we were concerned about him coming off a lifetime effort and can he repeat that in 30 days. So, that was a big question mark. You always wonder if they'll perform as well off Lasix as they will on Lasix. When I saw [Straight No Chaser] stumble and not break well, I thought we've got an opening here. With a horse of that caliber you're just hoping for things to unfold well for you. I think the outside draw was good for him. He ran a big race, again."

Right: Joey Freshwater returns after the race. Winning jockey Jose Lezcano said, "He broke pretty good like last time. He was outside, I don't have to use him to be where I want to be. He liked to be there and run in the clear and I waited til the 3/16 and he really punched hard and went on and won the race."

Left: Second place finisher Ninetyprcentmaddie returns after the race. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "We were unlucky. He was in contact with the field the whole time. He was there. When I got to the quarter-pole, I had to wait a little bit longer than what I wanted to and unfortunately, we didn't get there on time."

Right: Third place finisher Twenty Four Mamba in the post parade. The Charlton Baker trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 8 seconds, and 2 thirds in 28 starts, earning $425,416 for owners PlayingTheField Racing, Final Turn Racing Stable, WLIR Racing Stables, and Acqua Nova Stable.

The trophy presentation for the Runhappy Stakes.

Neecie Marie wins the Beaugay Stakes

Kicking off the Saturday stakes quartet was the $175,000 Beaugay Stakes (G3) featuring a field of 6 older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the outer turf. Matriarch (G1) fourth place finisher Whitebeam was sent off as the 1-2 favorite over 5-2 second choice Aspray, unraced since winning the Lake Placid (G2) in August, and 13-2 third choice Spirit and Glory, winner of the Plenty of Grace Stakes.

Jockey Jose Lezcano sent Spirit and Glory to the lead first time by through fractions of 24.09, 47.87, and 1:11.62 while pressed by Whitebeam and stalked by 3-1 longest shot Quarrel. Turning for home Spirit and Glory continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:36.18 but 8-1 fourth choice Neecie Marie, last early under Joel Rosario, came out 4 wide and outfinished Whitebeam to win by a neck in 1:42.80. It was a head back to pacesetter Spirit and Glory third.

Results Chart from DRF.

Left: Neecie Marie in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Butch Reid Jr. said, "I was a little concerned [about being too far back], but I could see [Joel Rosario] wasn't concerned – he was still taking a hold going down the backside, so he must have felt he had something under him. It looked like a daunting task turning for home, but this is a nice filly and I think a bigger, stronger filly than last year, too. We're looking for big things from her. We'll see how she bounces out of this one. This was obviously a little under her best distance, but it was what we were looking for off the layoff and I think she'll be better on down the road."

Right: Trophy presentation for the Beaugay Stakes. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, "I was very comfortable. She doesn't have a lot of early speed and for 1 1/16, I thought maybe it would be a little short for her, but she was grinding it out and she kept coming. She finished really well for me. If you asked me if I thought we were going to win the race turning for home – maybe not – but it looked like she was getting to them and the further we go, the more she was getting to them. It was perfect."

Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Whitebeam returns after the race. Trainer Chad Brown said, "Given the ground - we've had rain and it's a bit soft – those were probably pretty strong fractions, so [Whitebeam] probably felt it the last 70 yards or so there. We'll have to hope she got a lot out of it. It was a good effort, she just got tired late."

Right: Third place finisher Spirit And Glory walks over before the race. The Robert Falcone Jr. trainee improved her record to 6 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds in 19 starts, earning $497,220 for owners Michael Nentwig, Michael Dubb, Beast Mode Racing, John Rochfort, and Robert Falcone Jr.

The start of the Beaugay Stakes.

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