SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Godolphin homebred Fully Vested broke alertly, settled nicely, then blasted off strongly in the stretch to dominate Saturday’s $125,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship Stakes.
Breaking well from post 5 under Jose Lezcano as the 3/2 favorite, Fully Vested settled comfortably into third as the rail-breaking Gidu shot to the lead down the backside. With Vici tracking closely from his right hip, Gidu posted opening fractions of :22.80 and :
Tipped out to run three-wide at the top of the stretch, Fully Vested took command with ease before stretching his advantage. Pulling away with every stride, the Tom Albertrani trainee crossed 7 1/4 lengths the best in a final time of 1:09.49 for the 6-furlong sprint over the good turf course.
“Today, he broke (well) and was very relaxed,” Lezcano said. “I put him behind those two other horses. At the 1/4 pole, I asked him and he took off and won the race. I think this is one of the better races he ever gave me.”
Though unable to keep the winner at bay, Vici was able to hold onto second by a head over Lonhtwist, who necked out a fading Gidu for third. Dubini, Nice Tune, and Jammer completed the order of finish.
Fully Vested’s win was his first at the stakes level and followed a strong third last out in the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational Stakes behind a pair of Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) competitors. The 5-year-old gelded son of Discreet Cat now carries a record of 14-4-4-4 with $316,369 earned.
“It was definitely a class relief coming out of his last race, running against Final Frontier and Shekky Shebazz,” said Albertrani, who previously saddled Sadler’s Joy and Andina Del Sur to stakes triumphs earlier in the meet. “He trained well heading into this race today. We felt pretty good coming into today and he ran better than I could have ever imagined. Jose has ridden him in the past and he’s a horse that really doesn’t like being taken a hold of. He rated well and had a good kick today.”
Fully Vested returned $5.10 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.60 to show. Vici brought back $5.70 to place and $4.10 to show, while Lonhtwist paid $4 to show.