Kicking into high gear at the top of the stretch, Jonesy Boy earned his first stakes victory on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack with a last-to-first effort in the 108th running of the $100,000 Queens County for 3-year-olds and up.
Patiently handled by jockey Rajiv Maragh, the 4-year-old son of Smarty Jones was content to run in fifth behind favored Sliver and Onions and Percussion, who dueled through the opening quarter-mile.
With Spa City Fever joining the fray, Don Dulce hit his best stride on the turn but Maragh angled Jonesy Boy to the far outside and he was up in time to hit the wire a neck in front.
Jonesy Boy’s winning time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:52.02.
“We went in with the intention of sitting back and letting him fall into his stride,” said Maragh of Jonesy Boy, who is trained by Kelly Breen. “I was hoping that the speed would develop, and it sure did. Midway on the turn I saw I had a great shot to win; I only had a couple lengths to make up and it seemed like my horse was just getting into his best stride.”
Sent off at 6-1, Jonesy Boy returned $15.60 for a $2 win bet and earned $60,000 for owners George and Lori Hall. It was the second victory in as many starts this year for Jonesy Boy, who on October 31 won an optional claimer at Laurel Park. Overall, he is 4-2-0 from six starts with earnings of $151,330.
Runner-up Don Dulce was four lengths in front of Spa City Fever, with Percussion and Sliver and Onions completing the order of finish. (Jenny Kellner)
Moment of the Year
Will Take Charge’s thrilling victory in the Grade 1, $1 million Travers and the following day’s ceremony in which retired jockey Ramon Dominguez received the 2013 Mike Venezia and 2012 Eclipse Awards were selected as two of the options in the annual “NTRA Moment of the Year” poll.
There are 12 options in the poll, with the results to be announced on January 18, during the Eclipse Awards ceremony.
In the Travers on August 24 at Saratoga Race Course, Will Take Charge nipped Moreno on the wire to prevail by a nose, giving Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas his third win in the race. It was the first Travers victory for jockey Luis Saez.
Dominguez, the leading rider in New York by wins from 2009-2012, earned his third straight Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2012, but was unable to receive the prize during the ceremony on January 19, after he was seriously injured in a spill the previous day at Aqueduct Racetrack. Dominguez, who announced his retirement in June, instead received the award on August 25 at Saratoga during a special ceremony between races.