SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – New York-breds Espresso Shot and Funny Guy took Sunday’s twin New York Stallion Series stakes at Aqueduct – the Staten Island (for fillies & mares) and the Thunder Rumble.
In the Staten Island, Espresso Shot returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since the March 2019 Busher Stakes, ending a 10-race skid with a 2-length score. With John Velazquez aboard, the Jorge Abreu trainee won the 7-furlong fast dirt sprint by 2 lengths in 1:24.64.
“Last time (in the Iroquois), there was a lot of speed and she got carried wide,” Velazquez said. “Today was totally different. She was closer, on the hands, and much better today.”
The field was spread out at the wire, starting with Prairie Fire in second, 2 1/2 lengths past the 6/5 favorite Officer Hutchy. Completing the order of finish came Bankers Daughter, the pacesetter Sadie Lady, Fight On Lucy, and Steal My Heart.
The 4-year-old Mission Impazible filly’s record improved to 17-4-3-1 with $402,105 earned for co-owners NY Final Furlong Racing Stable, Maspeth Stables, and Parkland Thoroughbreds.
“Turning for home, I saw Johnny was loaded,” Abreu said. “She had nowhere to go, but then she made the lead and that was it.”
Espresso Shot returned $15.20 to win, $5.20 to place, and $3.10 to show. Prairie Fire brought back $3.20 to place and $2.10 to show, while Officer Hutchy paid $2.30 to show.
In the Thunder Rumble, the 4/5 heavy favorite Funny Guy squeaked out a late-running neck score over My Boy Tate for his third stakes score of the year. The John Terranova trainee improved his record to 16-6-5-0 with $618,645 earned for co-owners Gatsas Stables, R. A. Hill Stable, and Swick Stable.
“Turning for home, they got away from me a little bit,” said winning rider Joel Rosario. “I knew he was running, but I had to come out a little bit because I wasn’t sure what (Bankit) was going to do. I pointed him to the outside in case the horses inside came out, and I let him stretch his legs from there. For a second, I thought the other horse was going to get away, but the last part, he gave me everything he had. It was a good performance.”
Bankit was 2 lengths behind the top pair for third. T Loves a Fight and early pacesetter Binkster completed the order of finish.
“He’s got some gears,” Terranova said. “Once he got him into that rhythm, he was able to kick. He had to work on him, but he’s as honest as they come. The pace didn’t really unfold early, but I think you can attribute that to the fact this track is a little bit loose and deeper. He’s a big, heavy colt and he likes a little quicker surface you can bounce off of. It took a little bit to get him going and get his feet, but he sure got into the gear when he needed it at the end.”
Funny Guy returned $3.60 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. My Boy Tate brought back $3 to place and $2.70 to show, while Bankit paid $2.60 to show.