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OLDSMAR, FL – A well-rested Nova Rags had enough energy late to grind out victory in Saturday’s $125,000 Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
Returning from a 2-month break and last seen finishing fourth in the Nashua Stakes (G3), Nova Rags was the 6/5 favorite while breaking from the far outside post under Samy Camacho.
The Bill Mott trainee remained wide throughout and had the necessary “mmph” needed to get past stretch-run leader Newyearsblockparty to win by 2 3/4 lengths, completing the 7-furlong fast dirt sprint in 1:24.55.
“I was a little worried at the 3/8 pole because (Newyearsblockparty) was going between horses and I had to start working,” Camacho said. “But I hit him once at the top of the stretch and he responded, and when he switched leads in the stretch, it was ‘Bye.’”
Foreman, The Distractor, Thealligatorhunter, Little Demon, Distorted Limits, and early pacesetter Ahimelech completed the order of finish in the field restricted to 3-year-olds.
Nova Rags is a Michael Shanley homebred son of Union Rags whose record now stands at 3-2-0-0 with $70,650 earned.
“It’s what we were hoping for,” said Mott assistant Mark Schreiber. “His last race was a little disappointing, but he was kind of shying from horses on the outside of him and he needed to mature a little. Samy rode him perfectly today and it looks like he will stretch out. All along, Bill saw a lot in this horse.”
Nova Rags returned $4.60 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.60 to show. Newyearsblockparty brought back $10.80 to place and $6.60 to show, while Foreman paid $5 to show.
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