By Sarah Mace
Tom Egan of Trinity Farm had the pleasure of taking home the trophy for New York’s first turf race of the year when his homebred Macagone (Artie Schiller) recovered his winning form in Sunday’s $100,000 Danger’s Hour Stakes at one mile for 4-year-olds and up. Well-beaten in two prior starts at Gulfstream Park on January 14 and March 4, the 6-year-old gelding came roaring back with a dominant wire-to-wire win to repeat in a race he captured for his connections last year.
Macagone, who won his sire Artie Schiller’s namesake race at 34-1 odds at the same trip on November 19, had no answer for the competition in Gulfstream’s Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale and Grade 3 Canadian Turf. He was, however, well-backed Sunday for the return to his favored surface on which he had posted three wins in four starts, and was bet down to 5-2 second choice in the field of seven. Kendrick Carmouche, aboard for the Artie Schiller, had the call.
Sharp in the warm up, Macagone was aggressive from the bell, and had the lead well in hand before the field entered the clubhouse turn. The gelding raced along the backstretch a measured length and half ahead of his pursuers, then let things out a notch in the far turn, extending his lead to three lengths.
In the home stretch, odds-on favorite Catapult loomed the only possible threat, and closed some ground, but never got close enough to pose any real challenge.
After posting solid fractions of 23.40, 46.78, 1:10.62, Macagone crossed the finish line a 1 1/2-length winner in a final time of 1:36.13 for a mile over the yielding turf. He galloped home cheerfully and full of energy, looking as if he had never even run. [VIDEO REPLAY]
Kendrick Carmouche said, “Like [trainer] Mr. Billy Mott says never take anything that comes easy. They just wanted me to warm him up, get him back into his front-running character, and he ran good. He loves this turf course. Mr. Bill and Ms. Leanna [Willaford, Mott’s assistant] had this horse coming in very good.”
Though able to rate, Macagone has had greatest success on the front end.
Added Carmouche, “Congratulations to the owner [Tom Egan of Trinity Farm] and his family. He lost his wife in December and it really helps him as a person and his kids. This all goes to them.”
Leanna Willaford, Mott’s assistant said, “[Macagone] loves Aqueduct. There was a nice little cut in the ground and the plan was to go to the lead from the start. He actually just shipped in from Florida a couple of days ago and he looks fantastic. They did a good job with him and Kendrick finished the job.”
A consistent runner throughout his career, Macagone owns eight wins, three seconds and five thirds from 26 lifetime starts. His victory Sunday pushed earnings past the half-million-dollar mark ($525,667).
Foaled at Monhil Farm in Pine Plains, Macagone is out of Isabel Away, a winning daughter of Skip Away who is also the dam of successful turf runner Birchwood Road (Pure Prize), a three-time grass winner over $230,000.
The mare has produced a 3-year-old full brother to Birchwood Road named Red Knight, who has not started, a juvenile colt by Colonel John, and a yearling filly by Freud.