Hit It Once More upsets Haynesfield S. at 16-1

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Yellow Moon Stable’s Hit It Once More (Hard Spun), whose most recent stakes victory came in the Albany for New York-bred sophomores in July 2016, took almost everybody by surprise at Aqueduct on Saturday when he won the third running of the $100,000 Haynesfield Stakes in frontrunning style at longshot odds of 16-1.

Following an outstanding sophomore campaign in 2014 when he won four of seven starts, topped by back-to-back victories in the New York Derby and Albany stakes, Hit It Once More went winless in nine races in 2017. When trainer Gary Sciacca added blinkers for the 5-year-old’s first start of 2018, however, Hit It Once More woke up. He won a Parx allowance by more than four lengths on January 9, and next out, on February 3, going the same 1 mile 70-yard trip at Parx, attended a sharp pace before fading fifth.

“We went two starts back with the blinkers and it kind of seemed to make a bit of a difference on him,” said Sciacca. “Made him more focused to do his job. He always broke good but he pays more attention now.”

Breaking from post five to go the one-turn mile Saturday, Hit It Once More was gunned to the front by pilot Rafael Hernandez. By the time the field exited the chute onto the main track, he led by more than a length. Extending his advantage to two lengths along the backstretch through early splits of 23.80 and 47.73, and still unchallenged through six panels in 1:13.12, he kicked on at the quarter pole. After leading by more than three lengths in the stretch, the bay cruised under the wire a 2 3/4-length winner.

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Favorite Can You Diggit (9-5) closed from off the pace into second, while Papa Shot, who chased in vain throughout, ended up in third. Finishing next in order were: Uncle Sigh, Clutch Cargo and Extinct Charm. The final time of for the mile over the muddy (harrowed) track was 1:39.52. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Hernandez reported he and Sciacca were determined to use Hit It Once More’s speed and new-found focus to their advantage. “That was the plan [to go to the lead],” Hernandez said. “Gary told me he’s better when he’s on the lead. So, I wanted to make sure he got the lead and, like he told me, he keeps going. He’s great on the lead. I didn’t let anybody get close to me. When he won a couple starts before, he was on the lead.”

Sciacca added, “I thought he could make the lead but with the one-turn mile, I was thinking they get on you from the start and they kind of did, but he got a breather when he opened up a little bit.”

Bred by JMJ Racing Stables and foaled at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson, Hit It Once More is the lone winner for his stakes-winning dam Sunday Geisha.

Sold as a yearling for $105,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale, Hit It Once More was purchased by Sciacca for $90,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale for Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm. After 17 starts for Parcells, Hit It Once More contested the Empire Classic on October 21, 2017 in the colors of Yellow Moon Stable.

Having won six races from 24 career starts with two seconds and a third, Hit It Once More has bankrolled an impressive $494,642.


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