Homebred Blindwillie McTell wins Mike Lee

Monday, May 27th, 2019

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Bill Heller

What could be better than winning a stakes race on Big Apple Showcase Day for an owner of a New York-bred? Winning it with a home-bred. That’s exactly what Jerold Zaro did on Memorial Day Monday at Belmont Park, as his gelding Blindwillie McTell captured the seven-furlong $125,000 Mike Lee Stakes for three-year-olds by two lengths, giving both jockey Jose Ortiz and trainer Linda Rice their second Big Apple Showcase Day stakes scores. Sent off at 5-2 in the field reduced to eight with the late scratch of Stone Breaker, Blindwillie McTell won in 1:21.53. It was Ortiz’s third overall victory of the afternoon.

Funny Guy, who was 4-1 with Rajiv Maragh in the saddle, edged 4-1 Bank It and Ricardo Santana Jr. by a neck for a second. There was a length and three-quarter gap back to 9-1 Just Right and Manny Franco in fourth.

A son of Posse out of Bold Child by Flatter, Blindwillie McTell has done nothing wrong in his brief career. After finishing second at 19-1 in his maiden debut, November 17th, Blindwillie McTell won back-to-back stakes as a maiden, taking a $150,000 division of the New York Stallion Series by 2 1/2 lengths December 16 – beating Funny Guy by 18 1/2 lengths – and then the $101,000 Rego Park Stakes by three-quarters of a length on January 13.

Rice freshened Blindwillie McTell and he returned to action on April 20, finishing second by three-quarters of a length to Funny Guy as the 3-2 favorite in a $200,000 division of the New York Stallion Series on a sloppy track.

On Monday, Blindwillie McTell broke sharply from the six post and Ortiz settled him in second on the flank of 3-1 Le General and Jose Lezcano. Blindwillie McTell narrowed a three-quarters of a length deficit after a quarter-mile in :22.84 to just a neck in a :45.80 half-mile.

Then Ortiz gave Blindwillie McTell his cue, and he took the lead. He was in control after three-quarters in 1:09.27 and maintained a comfortable margin all the way to the wire. [VIDEO]

With three victories and a pair of seconds in his first five starts, Blindwillie McTell has earned more than $255,000.



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