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OZONE PARK, NY – Courtlandt Farm’s Maedean stayed off the early speed, surged in the stretch and overtook three competitors from the far outside, drawing away to a 5 1/2-length victory in the $150,000 Tempted for juvenile fillies on Friday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Maedean’s impressive finish on Opening Day at the Big A saw her capture a one-turn mile for the second consecutive start, with the Mark Hennig trainee winning at the same distance on October 5 at Belmont Park in a maiden-breaking effort in her second race.
The first stakes of the Aqueduct fall meet saw Sweet Kisses and Cee’s Overture duel for the lead, with the former gaining a slight advantage over the six-horse field, with the opening quarter-mile in 23.17 seconds and the half in 46.66 on the fast main track.
Jockey Luis Saez, aboard Maedean’s for the first time, stayed patient on the Tapit filly and tipped her out straightening for home, picking off Power Move, Sweet Kisses and Cee’s Overture one-by-one before gaining separation on the field, hitting the wire in 1:36.75 in her stakes debut.
“It was a beautiful trip. She did it on her own,” Saez said. “I was working this filly when I was in Saratoga and I knew she was special. Mark told me to break and just see where we are. I had a lot of horse, so I was just waiting. When we broke, I was in a perfect spot and I thought I had more horse than [Jose] Lezcano [No. 3, Power Move], who looked tough on paper. When we came to the stretch, she switched leads and did it by herself.”
The grey Tapit filly, purchased for $450,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, returned $6.50 on a $2 win wager. She could now target the 1 1/8-mile Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle on December 7, Cigar Mile Day, at Aqueduct, which offers 10-4-2-1 qualifying points towards the 2020 Kentucky Oaks to the top-four finishers.
“She had to swing out wide a little bit and she had to do that last time as well,” Hennig said. “This filly has got a lot of talent and I just wanted everything to be kept out of her way. I was confident that she would finish with good energy.
“I almost passed this race to wait on the Demoiselle because I know she’s going to love the distance,” he added. “She’s going to get better going further. If you watch her train in the morning, she just never gets tired. It’s encouraging going forward.”
Power Move, the 9-5 favorite who won her debut for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey on October 6 at Belmont, finished 3 ¼-lengths clear for second.Vast crossed the wire third but was disqualified to fourth for interfering with Ankle Monitor, who was elevated to third. Sweet Kisses and Cee’s Overture completed the order of finish.
Live race resumes Saturday with a 10-race card that starts at 12 p.m. Eastern. The Grade 3, $150,000 Turnback the Alarm is slated for Race 9 at 4:30 p.m. Aqueduct will also host full simulcast coverage of the Breeders’ Cup on Saturday, highlighted by the Grade 1, $6 million Classic, with a locally scheduled post of 8:44 p.m. Fans purchasing a Post Parade program on Saturday will receive a $5 cash card.
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