SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Marley’s Freedom returned to the winners circle in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap at Aqueduct. The four-year-old daughter of Blame has now won five of six races since April with her only loss a fourth-place finish in the Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Sprint last month.
Bonita Bianca broke best and went straight to the front. Meanwhile, Browse sat just off of Bonita Bianca on the inside with Come Dancing on the outside and the 1-2 post time favorite Marley’s Freedom back a length as they set an easy first fraction of :25.27. Sensing the slow early pace, jockey Mike Smith moved Marley’s Freedom up between horses to put pressure on the early leaders and sped things up. Browse also moved up to claim the lead as they headed into the turn setting slightly faster subsequent fractions of :48.56 and 1:13.34. As they came around the turn, Browse quickly faded and gave way to Marley’s Freedom. Come Dancing was not ready to quit and also moved up three-wide around the turn to put pressure on Marley’s Freedom. At the top of the stretch, Marley’s Freedom and Come Dancing were neck and neck. The two horses battled it out but it was Marley’s Freedom that dug in to win by a neck. Pacific Wind, finished third following an impressive late run and Bonita Bianca settled for fourth.
Marley’s Freedom is owned by Cicero Farms and Trained by Bob Baffert. This was the fourth graded stakes win on the year for the Bob Baffert trainee who now has career earnings over $800,000.
“Today was the first time going a mile, but she took a breath of air and once she got that second wind, she locked in and she wasn’t going to let them by no matter what,” said jockey Mike Smith. “We could have went around there again and they weren’t getting by her.
Marley’s Freedom returned $3.10 to win, $2.70 to place, and $2.10 to show. Come Dancing brought back $6.20 to place and $3.50 to show, while Pacific Wind paid $2.50 to show.
Scratched: Sower, Tigalalu