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OZONE PARK, NY – Trainer Bill Mott’s Modernist powered his way to win Saturday’s $150,000 Excelsior Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct.
Modernist took the lead as the field turned into the Aqueduct stretch and kept it to win as the 8/5 favorite with Junior Alvarado riding.
“I knew whatever would happen at the gate, I had to be a little more aggressive and forwardly placed,” said Alvarado. “ Even though we had a slow break, I had to use him a little to put myself in that position, and I think that helped.”
“He helped me get my position in the first turn and after that I was just a passenger,” said Alvarado. “I was just waiting to turn for home to ask him and he kicked on very nicely.“At the quarter-pole, when I asked him to run, he picked it up so quickly that he didn’t even have a chance to switch leads,” added Alvarado. “Then, I felt him running faster and I didn’t want to badger him to switch leads until we passed the eighth pole. I pulled a little on my inside reins and then he switched leads and kept on. Nothing to be worried about.”
Haikal, Limonite, Backsideofthemoon, Grumps Little Tots, and Tintoretto completed the order. Morning line favorite Mr. Buff was a veterinarian scratch on race day.
Modernist won his 2nd career race at the stakes level including the 2020 Risen Star Stakes (G2) and improved his record to 9-3-1-2. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo colt has now earned $520,300 for Pam and Martin Wygod.
“We told Junior, ‘Don’t take anything away coming easy,’” said Willaford. “I was really happy with him. He’s matured both physically and mentally. I think he’s going to have a good year.”
Modernist returned to $5.30, $3.30 to place, and $2.10 to show.
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