Stoney Bennett Stands Out in New York Stallion Series Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

December 15th, 2017

If you plan to play the Sunday card at Aqueduct this weekend, finding the winner in the $150,000 New York Stallion Series Stakes (Great White Way Division) is going to be important.

After all, the six-furlong race for New York-bred two-year-olds is the day’s feature race and is the penultimate event on the card, placing it squarely in the late Pick 4 and other multi-race wagers. Seven horses are entered, three of them running for only the second time, and in a race like this—where some handicappers might be inclined to bet multiple horses—it could pay to take a stand and use only one horse.

In my opinion, #2 Stoney Bennett might be worthy of such support. The son of the unbeaten sprinter Bustin Stones won his debut sprinting six furlongs at Belmont on September 15th, going gate-to-wire against a field of New York-breds to win by 3 ¾ lengths with a 93 BRIS speed figure. In his second start, he stretched out to a mile in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes and got caught up in an intense duel for the lead—the half-mile fraction of :45.77 was much too quick and set the race up for closers. Under the circumstances, Stoney Bennett did very well to finish fourth.

Most recently, Stoney Bennett suffered a poor start in the six-furlong Notebook Stakes at Aqueduct, but rallied from off the pace to finish second by a length with a 91 BRIS speed figure. A better start should allow him to return to front-running tactics on Sunday, and trainer Ollie Figgins, III will also equip Stoney Bennett with blinkers for the first time, which has historically been a strong angle for Figgins.

In terms of speed figures, Stoney Bennett is substantially quicker than any of his rivals in the New York Stallion Series Stakes. Only #3 Inalienable Rights has come close to earning similar figures, but this late-running son of Mission Impazible has seen his form slip as of late (he was only fifth in the Notebook Stakes), and the New York Stallion Series Stakes will mark his first start as gelding.

There’s always a chance that one of the second-time starters will step up in a big way—#1 Dezzer and #4 Belleville Spring being the most likely candidates—but there’s no guarantee that they’ll improve enough to challenge Stoney Bennett, who looks poised for a big effort. Plus, Stoney Bennett will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., who is winning at a 27% rate at the current Aqueduct meet and has actually won with 10 of his last 17 mounts at Aqueduct through December 14th.

So my plan is to keep things simple. His odds probably won’t be high enough to warrant a win bet, but Stoney Bennett looks like a single in the multi-race wagers and on the top of single-race wagers like the exacta, trifecta, and superfecta. Here’s one suggestion:

$2 superfecta: 2 with 3,4 with 1,3,4,5 with 1,3,4,5 ($24)

Good luck!