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Zandon returns after winning the 2023 Woodward Stakes with jockey Flavien Prat aboard.
The highlight race on Sunday at Aqueduct's "Belmont at the Big A" meeting is the $400,000 Woodward Stakes (G2) for older horses going 1 1/8 miles, one complete lap of the main track. This card was originally scheduled and drawn for Saturday but due to the historic rainfall and flooding in New York, Saturday's card was moved to Sunday and the original Sunday card will be run Wednesday. In addition the 6th race, the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1), was moved to next Saturday (October 7) as the turf course is waterlogged. In contrast to Saturday, conditions on Sunday were typical for early October with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid 70's. The main track was rated good at the start of the card but upgraded to fast for the stakes races, and all turf races (other than the rescheduled Joe Hirsch) were moved to the main.
After 2 scratches, a field of 8 went to post with Zandon sent off as the even-money favorite off second place finishes in the Westchester (G3), Metropolitan Handicap (G1), and Whitney Stakes (G1). In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Tyson, third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Saratoga, and 9-2 third choice Charge It, a distant 4th in the Whitney after winning the Suburban (G2).
Zandon draws away in the stretch.
Jockey kendrick Carmouche sent 43-1 longest shot Pipeline to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 23.43, 46.66, and 1:10.52 while pressed by 13-1 Film Star and stalked by 17-1 Law Professor. Turning for home Pipeline tired badly allowing Film Star to take over the lead through 1 mile in 1:35.77. Favorite Zandon, 6th early under Flavien Prat, came out 5 wide into the lane and rallied to win going away by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:48.48. It was a neck back from Film Star to Law Professor third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Zandon Prat 4.00 2.70 2.30 10 Film Star Ortiz 7.90 5.50 2 Law Professor Franco 5.90 Winning Time: 1:48.48 $1 Exacta 4-10 21.20 $1 Trifecta 4-10-2 168.00 $1 Superfecta 4-10-2-1 608.50Results Chart
Left: Zandon in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "He's been a horse that's been knocking on the door and he's had a little bit of bad luck running into really, really top horses in some of these races. I felt a little bad for him because he's run such fast numbers in defeat that would have been good enough to win a lot of these races any other year when you really look at it. He's always run into really top class horses along the way. Like I've said before, one thing I'll always point out is even in a lot of runner-up finishes, look at the horses that were behind him. I mean, he's beat a pile of good horses in those valiant runner-up races. This horse is a really consistent horse and has been a pleasure to train."
Right: Zandon heads back to the barn after the race.
Left: Zandon walks over before the race. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "We were all trying to be in the same position, pretty much [into the first turn]. I was trying to get position, but my horse didn't want to be there so we went to 'Plan B.' I grabbed a hold of him and got him to settle down and from there I was traveling super. A bit worried when we hit the turn, it looked like he wasn't going anywhere and then as soon as he got into a rhythm, he kicked on well.From the 5/16 to the 1/4 pole he was really grabbing the bridle and making a nice move. As soon as I tipped him out and he swapped leads, he really made another good move. He had some good runs at 1 1/4. He's a horse that comes from behind, so it's a matter of pace as well."
Right: Zandon returns after the race.
Left: Second place finisher Film Star returns after the race. Trainer Linda Rice said, "I thought he ran terrific. He's won his last two and won over the track. It was a bit of an aggressive move to put him back in on short rest, but I was really proud of the way he ran. I think he's improved gradually, slowly all along and I was thrilled with his effort. Frankly, I don't know where we go next, I'm just going to enjoy today."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Law Professor walks over before the race. Trainer Rob Atras said, "I was happy with him. It wasn't the greatest start and going into the first turn it wasn't ideal having to check a little bit but Manny [Franco] does a good job with this horse. He got him to settle, got him into a rhythm and made a good move on the turn. He finished well and I think we'll build off this race."
Cody's Wish wins the Vosburgh Stakes
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. sent Accretive to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 23.33 and 46.12 while pressed by Sheriff Bianco and stalked by 22-1 Great Navigator. Turning for home, Cody's Wish, 4th early under Junior Alvarado, came out 3 wide and took over at the 1/8 pole through 3/4 in 1:09.67. Kept to task by Alvarado, Cody's Wish drew off to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Accretive in 1:21.83. It was another 3 1/4 lengths back to Great Navigator third.
Left: The trophy presentation for the Vosburgh. Michael Banahan, director of bloodstock for winning owner-breeder Godolphin USA said, "We would have liked more speed in the race, but that's what it was. We really just wanted to go around there safely and get home. That was the race we were all looking for. When he was up in second place after a couple of furlongs, you knew it wasn't very fast paced, which made me a little worried because he likes a fast pace to run into. But I think he was simply the best horse in the race. He came by the wire in the last 50 yards with Junior [Alvarado] just sitting on him. That was nice to see him do that, and hopefully we got enough out of him here to tune him up for the Breeders' Cup in November."
Right: Cody's Wish in the paddock.
Left: Cody's Wish in the post parade. Winning jockey Junior Alvarado said, "Right when he loads, he started acting up. He fixed himself up a little bit there, but not 100 percent, and then they broke so I don't think he got a chance to get his feet from underneath him. He broke flatfooted out of there. The pace wasn't too fast, so he had a chance to quicken himself and get in contention. We had to put up with a little fight there, but I knew I had the horse to fight [Accretive]. I didn't care how much we won by, just as long as he gave me that punch he always does turning for home. That's all I was expecting and he did it well."
Right: Cody's Wish up close. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "It wasn't so brilliant you worry about taking everything out of him, but it was enough to see that he still wants to do it and can do it. I think both distances [seven furlongs and one mile] are good. I guess seven is good for him if there's more pace. There wasn't a lot of pace today, but [it was] a good effort."
Left: Second place finisher Accretive returns after the race. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "He's a fighter. My horse fought the whole way, but we were second best. He's great and he's getting better."
Right: Third place finisher Great Navigator walks over before the race. The Eddie Owens Jr. trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds in 9 starts, earning $279,107 for owner-breeder Holly Crest Farm.
Caramel Swirl winner the Gallant Bloom Stakes (moved up from third due to disqualifications)
Jockey Jose Lezcano sent 18-1 Headland to the lead through fractions of 22.65 and 45.93 while pressed by Beguine and stalked by 48-1 longest shot Remain Anonymous. Turning for home Headland continued to lead through 3/4 in 1:10.09 despite coming out at the 1/8 pole. 6-1 fourth choice Sterling Silver, 4th early, came out 5 wide for room and rallied, but came in at the 1/8 pole, before drawing off to finish 4 lengths ahead of Headland in 1:16.18. It was another 1/2 length back to late-running favorite Caramel Swirl third, after having to check at the 1/16 pole. There was a stewards' inquiry into the stretch run, with first place finisher Sterling Silver disqualified and placed second for interference. In addition Headland was also disqualified, moving down to third place for interference at the same area, thus moving up favorite and third place finisher Caramel Swirl to the win position.
Left: Caramel Swirl heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "She was coming. You wonder what [the stewards] were going to do and I didn't know if they would move the four [Beguine] up, that's the only thing. I thought they'd make it one-four-two-six. But, I think they made the right call putting this filly up. She's trained really well. She trained well going for the Ballerina, ran a good race [there]. Three Grade 1-winners finished in front of her. Obviously the two best horses in the country, and then [Matareya] beat us by a nose, but she's a Grade 1-winner. Our filly's not [a Grade 1-winner], she's a notch under, but she's a good filly. There'd be a lot of pace in the Breeders' Cup, and at seven furlongs, that's kind of her distance."
Right: Jockey Junior Alvarado talks with trainer Bill Mott after the race. Alvarado said, "She was there for me and she was fighting. I thought I had the horse to hold my spot and protect myself right there. She ran great. I clipped heels with the horse to the inside [Headland], then when I got out of there, I was [shut off] by the horse outside of me [Sterling Silver]. That takes it to a different level. Now, I'm in a terrible spot where I almost went down. I'm just glad everybody got back safe, and I think it was the right decision."
Left: First place finisher (disqualified to second) Sterling Silver crosses the finish line. Jockey Javier Castellano said, "I blew by all the rest of the field, why do you have to penalize the horse and disqualify the horse? I feel like, don't penalize the horse, she didn't do anything wrong. I bothered the one horse? I didn't bother. You can see on the inside, [Lezcano] came out all the way and he put Junior Alvarado in my spot. I didn't come in – I never came in. A little before, maybe you question, but I didn't, because I blew by the field. It's unfair to disqualify the horse. If you want to punish me, I get punished, but don't disqualify the horse. Don't punish the bettor, the owner, the connections. I think that was the wrong decision."
Right: Second place finisher (disqualified to third) returns after the race. The George Weaver trainee improved her record to 10 wins, 12 seconds, and 5 thirds in 41 starts, earning $678,961 for owners Thomas and Daryn Brockley.
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