SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Gary Barber’s decision to ship Solid Wager east to the barn of Chris Englehart paid off handsomely on Saturday when the venerable veteran took command in deep stretch and drew off late to win the Grade 3, $100,000 Toboggan Stakes at Aqueduct.
Breaking from the far outside post 5 under Jose Lezcano at 5/1 odds, Solid Wager took back early but remained within striking distance of the pacesetter Skyler’s Scramjet through opening fractions of :22.75 and :45.81. Ranging up through the far turn, Solid Wager was forced to run five-wide at the top of the stretch as the field fanned across the track. The pacesetter began to inch away, but Solid Wager soon began reeling him in. Collaring him inside the final furlong, Solid Wager drew off late before crossing the wire with a 1 1/2-length lead in a final time of 1:23.95 for the 7-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“He’s a very nice horse and the race set up good for him,” Lezcano said. “The first 1/4 (mile) went fast, and after, he was backing up a little. I asked him near the 3/8 (pole) to pick it up. I had watched a few replays and it looked like he is more comfortable coming (off the pace). He finished strong.”
Outkicked in the end, Skyler’s Scramjet was still well ahead of his remaining foes for second. The 3/2 favorite Gold for the King headed Bal Harbour for third, while Colonel Sharp weakened after running in second down the backstretch to complete the order of finish.
Solid Wager’s win was his second in a graded stakes event following his triumph in 2016’s Grade 3 Midnight Lute Stakes at Santa Anita and improved his overall record to 49-11-8-6. The 8-year-old gelded son of Birdonthewire, whose previous 48 starts all came while under the care of trainer Peter Miller, increased his bankroll to $804,935.
Solid Wager returned $12.20 to win, $4.10 to place, and $2.30 to show. Skyler’s Scramjet brought back $3 to place and $2.20 to show, while Gold for the King paid $2.20 to show.