Race Recaps

Aztec Sense Still Hot After $150,000 Pa Derby Champion

Joe Labozzetta/EQUI-PHOTO

BENSALEM, PA – Joseph Besecker’s Aztec Sense kept his hot streak alive Saturday, taking the lead early and never looking back en route to wiring the $150,000 Pa Derby Champion Stakes at Parx.

Breaking well under Emisael Jaramillo as the second betting choice at 7/2 odds, Aztec Sense quickly took command and posted fractions of :24.40, :48.66, and 1:13.33 while Zanotti and the 2/5 favorite Collected kept close watch. Beginning to separate heading into the far turn, Aztec Sense steadily inched away down the stretch before crossing with a 4-length advantage in a final time of 1:45.97 for the 1 1/16-mile event over a fast main track.

Zanotti made a bid for the lead in the far turn but came up empty and was only able to stave off Name Changer by a 1/2-length for second. Collected began falling off heading into the far turn and continued to slide after turning for home, finishing a disappointing fourth ahead of only Prince of Hempt to complete the order of finish. ExultingGrasshoppinSmall Bear, and Sunny Ridge (whose connections opted to run in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park) were scratched.

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Aztec Sense’s win was his seventh straight and eighth in nine starts since Besecker and trainer Jorge Navarro claimed him here last fall for $12,500. The 5-year-old gelded son of Street Sense now carries a record of 35-11-5-1 with earnings of $436,807.

Aztec Sense returned $9.20 to win, $5.20 to place, and $5 to show. Zanotti brought back $6.80 to place and $8 to show, while Name Changer paid $6.20 to show.

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