Sticksstatelydude leads all the way in paceless Discovery
Saturday's $150,000 Discovery (G3) had the potential to yield an up-and-coming star for an older dirt male division that is expected to thin out considerably over the next several months. However, the result of the 1 1/8-mile test for three-year-olds appeared to be dictated more on the basis of pace as Sticksstatelydude and Neolithic ran one-two around one lap of Aqueduct's main oval.
Holding a lead that varied between a half-length and one length through comfortable splits of :24.29, :49.21 and 1:13.87, Sticksstatelydude proved game in deep stretch, repelling a challenge from Neolithic and drawing away to win the Discovery by 1 1/4 lengths under Joel Rosario. The final time over a fast track was 1:50.58.
"We talked and thought there wasn't much pace after the horse from Parx [Hot Seat] scratched, so we told Joel, 'if they let you go to the lead, do your thing' and he said he'd be first or second," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "So when he broke well and went on with him, it was a great effort. The fractions weren't too fast and everything went well, and this was a nice group of horses. We're proud of him.
"Where we go from here, we don't know yet. He'll stay here [in New York] for a while but we'll wait and see."
Owned by the partnership of Haynes, Ferris, Pack Pride Racing, Haynes and Ward, the son of First Dude paid $14.40 as the 6-1 fourth choice in a field of nine. Neolithic, a 22-1 chance, was 2 1/4 lengths clear of late-arriving My Man Sam, who was pinched back at the start. Gift Box, the 8-5 favorite, finished fifth.
This was the first stakes win for Sticksstatelydude, who had run fourth in the 2015 Breeders' Futurity (G1) and 2016 Smarty Jones (G3) in his first two stakes attempts. He entered off a half-length, runner-up loss to Texas Chrome in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) at Remington Park. His record now stands at 8-3-3-0, $326,400.
A $40,000 Fasig-Tipton November weanling purchase, Sticksstatelydude was reared by the Gilded Time mare Placerita, making him a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Saturday Nite Ride and the stakes-placed Crackdown. This extended family includes European sprint champion Slade Power and Grade 1 winners The Big Beast and Slew the Dragon.
(Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography)