Mr. Pete stalks his way to victory in Aspirant Stakes at Finger Lakes

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

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By Sarah Mace

Mr. Pete, a homebred for Michael Salerno’s Nirvana Stables by first-crop sire Shanghai Bobby, took home the prize after a successful stalking trip in the $117,263 Aspirant Stakes for New York-bred 2-year-olds at Finger Lakes on Saturday.

After finishing second in his debut for trainer James Ryerson at Belmont Park on June 2, Mr. Pete added blinkers to graduate by a half-length on July 15, winning from off the pace at six furlongs.

The dark bay was last seen finishing fifth in the Funny Cide Stakes at the Spa on August 25, which made him the only juvenile of seven entrants in the lucrative Aspirant with stakes experience.

After breaking from post one under jockey Harry Hernandez as the 5-2 second choice, Mr. Pete settled in third on the inside, while 4-5 favorite Looking Ready showed the way through a testing opening quarter-mile in 22.40 and half in 46.20.

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Coasting through the turn three-wide, Mr. Pete moved into second place in upper stretch, but still had three lengths to make up on the pacesetter. Mr. Pete narrowed the gap and engaged Looking Ready in mid-stretch.

With a furlong to go, Mr. Pete took over the lead. Although the colt drifted out in final sixteenth, he got home clear, winning by 2 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:11.94. Lover’s Leap rallied from fourth to get a nose in front of Collective Effort in third, while pacesetter Looking Ready, Tender Boy, Cheltan and Paynter’s Prize finished next in order. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Mr. Pete, who has earned $125,957 from two wins and a second-place finish in four starts, is the second winner from two foals to start out of Dakota Doll. A New Jersey-bred stakes performer and earner of $273,000, Dakota Doll was purchased by Peter Walsh as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton selected October sale in 2006.

A half-sister to stakes winner Lovely Fio Not For Love), Dakota Dolla has a weanling filly by Shackleford and was bred to Effinex this spring.

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