Bounding into the lead and opening up by nearly 10 lengths on his nine rivals, Five Iron galloped through a quarter mile in 24.52 seconds and a half in 47.51 over a “good” inner turf course.
As Five Iron’s lead began to dwindle on the far turn, jockey Mike Luzzi asked the 4-year-old colt for another gear and he responded with enough to turn back the late charge from Summer Front.
“When I spoke with [trainer Brian Lynch] he basically told me he’s a quirky, really strong horse,” said Luzzi. “If you try to rate him, or take hold of him, he’ll fight you and he’ll run off. It probably looked like he ran off, but I had him.
“When we got that far in front, at the three-eighths pole, I said, ‘Might as well get away now and not wait for them to catch me,’” he added. “It worked out.”
The victory was the first since September for Five Iron, who in his only other journey to New York was a similarly front-running winner of the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga Race Course.
He subsequently was third in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby to close out his 3-year-old campaign and was ninth in the Grade 3 Appleton on March 29 at Gulfstream Park.
(Jenny Kellner) Trainer: Tonalist good for Peter Pan
Trainer Christophe Clement on Sunday stated his desire to run Tonalist in the Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan next Saturday after the 3-year-old breezed five furlongs last week at Belmont Park.
The 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan is New York’s final graded stakes for 3-year-olds prior to the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 7.
“He had a very nice work today,” said Clement. “I have to talk to [owner Robert S.] Evans, but as long as he’s comfortable with it I’d like to run him in the Peter Pan.”
Tonalist, second to eventual Grade 1 Florida Derby winner Constitution on February 22, was originally pointed for the Wood Memorial on April 5 before he was withdrawn with a lung infection.
“We gave him the time, we took care of it, a few little problems,” said Clement. “He trained well at Payson and trained well this morning. I’m excited with the work. Let’s go.”
Tonalist has a single win in three starts, having broken his maiden by four lengths on January 18 at Gulfstream Park after finishing fourth in his debut in November at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Hushion putting two in Ruffian
Trainer Michael Hushion has a pair of runners for Sunday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian, with My Wandy’s Girl slated to make her first start since winning the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap on February 22 at Laurel Park and Parc Monceau set to step up in class off an entry-level allowance victory on April 4 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The seven-furlong Barbara Fritchie was the second stateside stakes score for My Wandy’s Girl, who won four stakes in Puerto Rico before being shipped to the United States by owner Guillero Berrios.
In the Fritchie, she dueled with La Verdad and gained the upper hand late to prevail by one length. La Verdad returned to win the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap on April 19 at Aqueduct.
Barry Schwartz’s Parc Monceau cleared the first allowance condition in her ninth start by tracking the pace and drawing clear to triumph in a one-mile race on the main track at Aqueduct. In her lone stakes start, she was fourth in the restricted Broom Dance in July at Saratoga Race Course.
“Parc Monceau seems like she’s going to take a step forward,” said Hushion.
Jockeys reflect on derby
Rajiv Maragh and Irad Ortiz, Jr. are none the worse for wear after contesting yesterday’s Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.
Maragh, who was aboard 6-1 second choice Wicked Strong, finished fourth, while Ortiz checked in 14th aboard Uncle Sigh, who led the field after a half-mile and three-quarters.
“The experience was great,” said Ortiz of his first time riding in the Derby. “My horse ran well. He broke sharp and went to the front easily. I asked him to run at the 3/8-pole and he picked it up, but by the quarter-pole the other horses ran by him and he got a little tired.”
Like Ortiz, Maragh came away feeling good about his mount’s performance.
“My horse ran really well,” said Maragh. “He came on nice at the end, but didn’t have enough. A couple of times I had to alter course because of what was in front of me and where the openings were. He’s more of a big, steady run horse. He felt like a horse that would really love the 1 ½-mile Belmont.”
Jose Ortiz, who finished fifth aboard Samraat, took off his mounts at Belmont on Sunday after a spill in the final race at Churchill Downs on Saturday. He was discharged after being evaluated at a Louisville hospital.