Two down, one to go: Amberjack wins New York Derby with authority

Saturday, July 20th, 2013
Stephanie Van Minos/Tom Cooley

Stephanie Van Minos/Tom Cooley

by Sarah Mace

Peachtree Stable’s Amberjack (Indygo Shiner) who won the Mike Lee – the first leg of the Big Apple Triple for New York-bred 3-year-olds at Belmont Park on June 1 – came back with a command performance in the second leg of the series, drawing off to win the $150,000 New York Derby at Finger Lakes on Saturday by 6 1/2 lengths. If the chestnut colt can capture the third leg of the series – the Albany Stakes to be run at Saratoga on August 21 – he will earn the $250,000 Big Apple Triple Bonus for his connections.

Drawn in the inside post (of six) and bet down to 6-5 favoritism to go the 1 1/16 miles over the sloppy (sealed) racetrack under jockey Jose Espinoza, Mike Hushion-trained Amberjack broke well and vied for the early lead with Smooth Bert and Street Lord before taking back into fourth after a half mile (47.36).

Midway around the far turn, with Smooth Bert leading by a head, Amberjack maneuvered out from the rail into the three path, split rivals in upper stretch, took command and drew off in the final furlong to a 6 1/2-length victory. Smooth Bert finished second 4 1/2 lengths clear of West Hills Giant in third. Completing the order of finish were Go Get the Basil, Tequila Hero and Street Lord. After six furlongs in 1:12.40 and a mile in 1:37.89, the final time for the 8 1/2 furlongs was 1:44.42.

“He’s a smart horse that has class and can run”, said Espinosa. “I was able to do what I wanted with him.”

Stephanie Van Minos/Tom Cooley

Stephanie Van Minos/Tom Cooley

Amberjack’s second stakes victory improves his record to 4-0-1 from 6 starts and boosts his earnings to $255,355.

The $250,000 Big Apple Triple Bonus for the horse that sweeps all three races of the series returns in 2013 after a one-year hiatus. Tin Cup Chalice in 2008 was the first – and so far only – horse to sweep the three-race series.

Bred by Dixie Farm and foaled at Song Hill Thoroughbreds in Mechanicville, Amberjack was purchased by Peachtree’s John P. Fort at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred sale for $185,000.

He is one of two winners from two foals to start out of Free as Tristan, a winning New Jersey-bred daughter of Crafty Friend. Amberjack’s second dam, Argentinean-bred Miss Carlotita, is a Grade 1 winner in Argentina and has also produced two stakes winners.

Free as Tristan’s first foal, Associate, is a Grade 1-placed Kentucky-bred colt by Wando who has earned $246,974. The 10-year-old mare currently has a yearling colt by Yes It’s True and a weanling filly by Tizway. She was bred this year to Lemon Drop Kid.

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