Aqueduct, 10th Race - April 5, 2008
OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- Bruce Levine enjoyed his best day as a trainer Saturday at Aqueduct, winning two graded stakes, including the Grade 1 Carter Handicap when Bustin Stones led gate to wire to beat longshot Executive Fleet by a half-length.
It was a neck back to Premium Wine in third. Lord Snowdon finished fourth and was followed in the order of finish by Not for Money, King of the Roxy, Ryan's for Real, the 6-5 favorite Spring at Last, and City Attraction.
The victory was the first Grade 1 for Levine, who earlier on the card won the Grade 3, $200,000 Excelsior Handicap with Temporary Saint. It was also the fourth consecutive Aqueduct card on which Levine won two races.
"The Grade 1 was just special," said Levine 53, who won his first race in 1979. "The horse is undefeated. It brought tears to my eyes. The only other horse that brought tears to my eyes was Coyote Lakes when he won the Gallant Fox for a third time."
Bustin Stones, a New York-bred son of City Zip owned and bred by Roddy Valente, remained undefeated after six career starts and added the Carter to his victory in the Grade 2 General George Handicap at Laurel Park.
Under Edgar Prado, Bustin Stones dueled inside of Executive Fleet through fractions of 22.52 seconds and 45.14. Turning for home, Bustin Stones opened up a bit on Executive Fleet, and withstood a challenge from that game 5-year-old to hold on for the victory. Bustin Stones covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.91 and returned $7.50 to win.
"I told Edgar to try and stay off the fence, but he got pushed down," Levine said. "I thought the inside was heavier than the outside, so he took the worst of it all the way around. He's just a gutsy horse; that's the way he is."
Levine said he would likely point Bustin Stones to the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont on May 26.
Aqueduct, 8th Race - April 5, 2008
Temporary Saint pulls Excelsior upset
Temporary Saint ($24.20) took control from the start under C.C. Lopez and was never caught as he won the Grade 3, $200,000 Excelsior Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths. Nite Light, the favorite, rallied to get second by a neck over Angliana.
The victory was the first in a graded stakes for Temporary Saint, a 5-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again whom owner Maggi Moss claimed for $50,000 last October from Limestone Stables.
Levine said he picked out the Excelsior after Temporary Saint ran a solid second in the Stymie after chasing the pace-setting Daaher. In sizing up the Excelsior field, Levine felt Temporary Saint could get the lead and play catch me if you can - and nobody could.
Temporary Saint carved out fractions of 23.92 seconds, 48.43, and 1:13.65 while being chased by Wafi City. As Wafi City began to fade, Temporary Saint continued on and covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.13.
"I'm surprised he didn't get much respect," Levine said. "I know speed hasn't been that good today. I knew he was going to make the lead - there was no speed in the race - I knew Wafi City was going to sit off of me. I had to take a shot."
Aqueduct, 7th Race - April 5, 2008
J Be K takes Bay Shore
After a dismal attempt stretching out around two turns, J Be K cut back to a sprint and romped to a five-length victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes. Gattopardo persevered between horses to get second by three lengths over Jockey Ridge.
Under Garrett Gomez, J Be K raced just outside the pace-setting Go Go Shoot through an opening quarter of 22.38 seconds. He put a head in front at the three-eighths pole, opened up a clear lead turning for home, and was never challenged in the stretch.
J Be K, owned by Zayat Stables and trained by Steve Asmussen, covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.67 and returned $5.10 as the favorite. J Be K is now 3 for 4 in his career.
"He ran great and he ran just the way the boss thought he would," assistant trainer Toby Sheets said. "We tried the Louisiana Derby, but it looks like he is a sprinter or maybe a one-turn miler."