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SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Life’s a Parlay bobbled at the start but rerallied and proved his favoritism in Saturday’s Excelsior Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct. This was the second consecutive win for the four-year-old son of Uncle Mo, who hasn’t finished out of the money in his six career races.
The post time favorite, Life’s a Parlay, broke in at the start and made contact with Shivermetimbers. Meanwhile, Hit it Once More broke best, went to the front and was joined by Tour de Force who eased slightly into the turn to give Hit it Once More sole possession of the lead. Tour de Force sat just off the leader while Life’s a Parlay recovered to settle in third as they set early fractions of :23.48 and :47.38.
Into the Second turn, Hit it Once More was leading on the rail and Tour de Force was close on his outside. Life’s a Parlay started his move three-wide of the leaders and sprung into the lead. At the top of the stretch, it was clear that nobody was going to get up to challenge Life’s a Parlay on the lead as he cruised to an easy one-length victory with jockey John Velazquez aboard. Monongahela had a ton left in the tank as they hit the top of the stretch but ran into traffic, was angled out wide, and rebroke to get up for second. Tour de Force sustained his stretch run and finished third ahead of Nicodemus in fourth.
Discreet Lover, the 9/5 morning line favorite, was scheduled to make his 2019 debut but was scratched after spiking a fever Saturday morning.
“This horse is better than I think he is but when he gets to the lead, he waits,” said jockey John Velazquez. “He sees everything in front of him and I have to wait for the horses to come to him for him to run again. He is very talented.”
“He runs well every time,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “We shipped him to Oaklawn and ran there; shipped him back to Florida and came up to New York all in three weeks. It was a lot to ask of him, but he’s been training well. He had a nice breeze the other day, so we felt confident that he bounced out of his last race in good shape. I think there’s a little more in the tank. He has a tendency to idle a little bit when he gets to the lead like he did today, but I was proud of him for doing it.
Life’s a Parlay returned $5.10 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.80 to show. Monongahela brought back $3.00 to place and $2.40 to show, while Tour de Force paid $5.20 to show.
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