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SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Kirk and Judy Robison’s Vertical Oak capped off her successful 4-year-old racing season with a victorious performance in Saturday’s $100,000 Garland of Roses Stakes at Aqueduct.
Breaking from the outside post under Eric Cancel as the four-horse field’s 3/5 favorite, Vertical Oak sat off early and allowed Yorkiepoo Princess and Sower to duel through opening fractions of :22.26 and :45.69. Ranging up along the outside, Vertical Oak hit the top of the stretch running three-wide and put forth a determined effort to begin inching away steadily in mid-stretch. Continuing to run strongly through to the wire, the Steve Asmussen trainee crossed with a growing 1 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:11.28 for the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“I had a wonderful trip,” Cancel said. “I knew that the two horses on the inside, they were going to come out of there running. I had her planned just to sit right off of them, and that was it. It worked out very well.”
Yorkiepoo Princess outlasted Sower by a length for second, while Tigalalu was never a factor and completed the order of finish. Dream Pauline was scratched.
Vertical Oak’s win was her second straight and improved her record to 8-4-1-3 with earnings of $324,895 in 2018. The 4-year-old daughter of Giant Oak carries a lifetime line of 21-9-3-4 with $771,595 bankrolled since debuting at Saratoga on July 27, 2016.
Vertical Oak returned $3.30 to win and $2.10 to place, while Yorkiepoo Princess paid $3.20 to place. There was no show betting.
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