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OZONE PARK, NY – A hands-and-heels stretch-running ride up the rail allowed the 46/1 longshot Weyburn to bomb the tote by the narrowest of margins in Saturday’s $300,000 Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct.
Weyburn broke from the far outside post 8 under Trevor McCarthy and sat just outside of Freedom Fighter, shot to the lead and posted opening fractions of :24.29, :48.03, and 1:12.85.
After stalking the top pair, Crowded Trade tipped out three-wide in the far turn and challenged for the lead, eventually taking command near the 3/16 pole and pulling away from Freedom Fighter.
Weyburn fought back gamely along the rail in the late stages and surged past Crowded Trade, ultimately getting the bob by a nose while completing the one-turn fast dirt mile in 1:38.70.
“He got into a really good groove down the backside and the pace wasn’t too hot,” McCarthy said. “He switched leads in that last 1/8 (of a mile) and that made him resurge. He was really aggressive and he had a lot of fight in him.”
The 4/5 favorite Highly Motivated had to steady hard early in the race when the field transitioned from the chute onto the main track but fought his way up for third in the stretch run.
Freedom Fighter, The Reds, Capo Kane, Wipe the Slate, and Atlantic Road completed the order of finish.
The Gotham is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Weyburn earned 50 points for the win, with Crowded Trade receiving 20 for second, Highly Motivated 10 for third, and Freedom Fighter 5 for fourth.
Weyburn’s win was his second straight following a maiden-breaking score over this course and distance last December. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the Ontario-bred Pioneerof the Nile colt’s record stands at 4-2-1-0 with $227,520 earned for owner/breeder Chiefswood Stables Limited.
“We thought he would like the distance, ultimately,” Jerkens said. “His last two works were sensational. … He was going to have to do something like that to win a race like this. We had to ask him for something in the morning and replicate it in the afternoon.”
Weyburn returned $95.50 to win, $26.80 to place, and $8.70 to show. Crowded Trade brought back $7 to place and $3.70 to show, while Highly Motivated paid $2.50 to show.
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