La Fuerza wins Aspirant Stakes with a tactical trip

Saturday, September 8th, 2018

SV Photography

By Sarah Mace

Talented Barry Schwartz homebred La Fuerza (Flatter) improved his career record to three-for-four when he won the $112,850 Aspirant Stakes at Finger Lakes for New York-bred juvenile colts and geldings on Saturday afternoon with a professional stalking trip.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, La Fuerza came into the 6-furlong Aspirant fresh from his first taste of defeat. After winning his debut and the Rockville Centre Stakes at Belmont Park by a combined 12 1/4 lengths in June and July, on New York Showcase day at Saratoga (August 24) he went back to the barn a well-beaten favorite when he finished last in the Funny Cide Stakes, which was won by Dugout. That day he veered out at the start and never really got in the game.

La Fuerza’s prior victories had both come through stalking tactics. In the Aspirant Jockey Chris DeCarlo, La Fuerza’s fourth pilot in as many races, adopted a variation of the same strategy from post one aboard the 1-4 favorite.

La Fuerza was outbroken at the start when the two outside horses – Kadens Courage and Pay the Vet – were gunned to the front of the seven-horse field. La Fuerza then charged up the rail to join the vanguard and, briefly, took a 1/2-length lead over Kadens Courage on the backstretch. Behind him Pay the Vet, Possetizzly, Big Mountain pressed heads apart in the closely-packed field.

In the approach to the far turn, 7-2 second choice Kaden’s Courage made an aggressive move from his wide position, accelerating and clearing horses to steal away the lead and save ground at the fence rounding the bend. La Fuerza was content, for the time being at least, to let him have his way. The remainder of the contest turned into a match race between Kaden’s Courage and La Fuerza.

The pair engaged fully at the furlong pole and La Fuerza took over just shy of the sixteenth marker before drawing clear to a 3-length victory in a final time of 1:12.97. Kaden’s Courage in second was 6 3/4 lengths clear of 51-1 longshot Pay the Vet in third. Completing the order of finish were Possetizzly, Big Mountain, Queens Dude and Shakin Not Bird. Wow Brown, a first time starter, was scratched in the post parade. [VIDEO REPLAY]

La Fuerza who has earned $172,910 from his three victories was foaled at Barry Schwartz’ Stonewall Farm in Granite Springs. He is the first foal out of Jonata, a Kentucky-bred two-time winner purchased by Schwartz as a yearling for $100,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September sale. Without issue in 2017, she foaled colt by Mizzen Mast on January 27, 2018. Jonata was bred this year to English Channel.


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