SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Shortleaf Stable’s Plainsman proved much the best Saturday after easily dispatching his three foes and going gate-to-wire to comfortably win the Grade 3, $200,000 Discovery Stakes at Aqueduct.
Breaking well from post 3 as the 4/5 favorite under Joel Rosario, Plainsman raced along the inside while Bon Raison shadowed his right hip through tepid opening fractions of :24.53, :50.08, and 1:14.25. Beginning to draw off in the far turn while still under a tight hold, Plainsman appeared to be on cruise control as he straightened for home with a widening lead. Under a steady hand urge for much of the stretch run, Rosario geared down the Brad Cox trainee in the shadow of the wire to win by 1 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:52.14 for the 9-furlong event over the fast main track.
“There wasn’t much speed,” Rosario said. “I thought I’d be either first or second and then he broke sharp, so I just had to hold my spot. He’s a pretty decent horse and he tried really hard. He kept running on. He was still fighting at the end. It looked like the longer it went, the more he wanted to do it. He did it pretty easy in the last part. He ran a big race.”
While he tracked closely for much of the race, Title Ready was unable to keep pace once the winner began accelerating and had to settle for a hard-fought second over Gronkowski, who broke slowly after brushing the outside gate. Bon Raison weakened in the far turn and jogged across the wire in fourth to complete the order of finish. Bal Harbour, Life’s a Parlay, and Roaming Union were all scratched after having competed in the Gio Ponti Stakes the day prior.
Plainsman’s win was his first in a graded event and his third straight, following two allowance scores on the NYRA circuit. The 3-year-old son of Flatter now carries a record of 12-4-3-2 with earnings of $300,445.
“It was a great ride,” said Cox assistant Dustin Dugas. “Joel didn’t panic when everybody came together at the 1/2-mile pole. I got nervous, but thankfully Joel didn’t, and it paid off for us.”
Plainsman returned $3.80 to win and $2.80 to place, while Title Ready brought back $3.30 to place. There was no show betting.