SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Chris Fountoukis’ Montauk Traffic set back and allowed the field to gas out, then circled them and edged away late in the $100,000 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes at Aqueduct.
Breaking from post 3 under Jose Lezcano at 5/2 odds, Montauk Traffic bumped with Old Chestnut after that foe broke inward, then settled comfortably well off the pace. Up front, Secret Rules dueled inside of Johnny Ritt through opening fractions of :23.07 and :46.77.
Chasing along the inside, Montauk Traffic was still in hand at the top of the stretch when Lezcano unleashed him. Tipped out near the 1/16 pole, Montauk Traffic swooped three-wide past the pace-setters before crossing the wire 1 1/2 lengths clear.
The Linda Rice trainee completed the 7-furlong sprint over the fast main track in a final time of 1:25.64.
“I knew the 5 and the 2 (Johnny Ritt and Secret Rules) would be going, but I knew this is a type of horse where you can do whatever you want with him,” Lezcano said. “I had so much horse and with him, he responds very quick. I think he can go any distance.”
Secret Rules fought strongly along the inside to take second as the 8/5 favorite, distancing himself from Johnny Ritt by 1 1/4 lengths. Old Chestnut was a close fourth, while farther back came Newstome, Polar Bear Pete, and Quixotic to complete the order of finish.
Montauk Traffic’s win was his second straight, having broken his maiden over this same course and distance on December 28. The 3-year-old son of Cross Traffic now sports a record of 3-2-0-0 with $94,000 earned.
“I was very pleased with his performance today,” Rice said. “I could see he wasn’t very comfortable being hustled aggressively to keep up with the fast fractions. Jose let him drop back and went inside before circling outside. I was thrilled he was able to get up. He’s continuing to mature and shown a lot of ability in his three starts so far.”
Winner returned $ to win, $ to place, and $ to show. Place brought back $ to place and $ to show, while Show paid $ to show.