SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Haikal got up late to win Saturday’s $150,000 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes at Aqueduct. This was the first stakes win for the 3-year-old son of Daaher who broke his maiden last time out in December.
Gates of Dawn shot from the outside to the lead and was followed closely by the Direct Order and the even-money favorite Tikhvin Flew. Jovia, who sat inside on the rail, also quickly got up to contest the lead as they set fractions of :23.13 and :46.67, and 1:12:38. Meanwhile, Haikal sat back toward the rear of the pack with jockey Rajiv Maragh aboard as they waited to make their move. Into the turn, Jovia claimed the lead from Gates of Dawn who was eventually pulled up in the stretch and did not finish. Around the turn, Haikal cut inside to the rail and shot up to challenge the Jovia and Tikhvin Flew who were neck and neck in the stretch. Haikal continued past the leaders and finished first by a neck. Jovia got up ahead of Tikhvin Flew in third and Family Biz finished fourth.
“He showed a lot of guts to get through on the inside,” said jockey Rajiv Maragh. “He fought hard. The way the track has been playing, I tried to use the rail to my advantage if I could. He won on the rail the last time, so I wasn’t thinking it would hurt us if he sat on the inside and the race played out good for him.”
Haikal, half brother to graded stakes winner Takaful, is bred and owned by Shadwell Stables and Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. Assistant trainer to McKaughlin, Joe Lee, indicated that the winning connections may next point the colt to the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham on March 9.
Haikal returned $6.60 to win, $4.10 to place, and $2.50 to show. Joevia brought back $11.60 to place and $6.00 to show, while Tikhvin Flew paid $2.50 to show.