ELMONT, NY – Gold Square’s Maryanorginger couldn’t have had a much more impressive debut when she overcame a poor start to scoot past her rivals in the stretch and win Thursday’s $150,000 Astoria Stakes at Belmont Park.
Breaking from the rail at 3/1 odds under Jorge Vargas, Jr., Maryanorginger nearly went to her nose when she stepped out of the gate but quickly recovered and had to he held briefly because Reiterate was crossing over in front of her. Settling near the rear and beginning to find a comfortable stride, Maryanorginger watched as Twirling Owen set the opening pace through fractions of :22.13 and :45.53.
Still riding the inside as she began to gain through the far turn, Maryanorginger tipped out as she straightened for home and followed Reiterate as that foe initially made the lead. Near the 3/16 pole, Reiterate suddenly began weakening, allowing Maryanorginger the chance to command control. She took advantage and dug in to keep the 6/5 favorite Perfect Alibi at bay late to win by 3/4 of a length. The Jeremiah Englehart trainee hit the wire in a final time of 1:03.94 for the 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“I stayed calm (after she stumbled) because she was taking dirt so good,” said Vargas, Jr. “When she got clear, she was long gone. I think she’s going to appreciate more distance. I hadn’t been on her before, but Mr. Englehart told me she was a nice filly. I was pretty confident in her.”
Perfect Alibi ran sluggishly in the far turn and had to be asked before she was even halfway through completing it, but she rallied down the stretch to take second over Talk You Out of It by 1 1/4 lengths. It was another 6 3/4 lengths back to a weakened Reiterate, while behind her came Punk Rock Princess, a spent Twirling Owen, and Ms Headley to complete the order of finish.
Dixie Mo and Sneaky Surprise were scratched.
Maryanorginger’s winning share of the purse was $87,000. The 2-year-old daughter of Strong Mandate was purchased as a yearling for $190,000.
“The first time out, it’s really not the way you want to start against winners, but she’s really been professional,” Englehart said. “Other than a little rear up in the paddock, she’s been really good and really smart.”
Maryanorginger returned $8.60 to win, $4.50 to place, and $3.50 to show. Perfect Alibi brought back $3.10 to place and $2.30 to show, while Talk You Out of It paid $4.40 to show.