My Boy Tate turns back clock in Hollie Hughes

Monday, February 15th, 2021

My Boy Tate adds another victory in Hollie Hughes for breeder, trainer and co-owner Michelle Nevin. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

The votes continue to roll in to determine the 2020 New York-bred divisional champions; just two days remain before they’re locked down.

The connections of My Boy Tate won only one of seven last year and didn’t land among the nominees, after back-to-back appearances for the son of Boys At Tosconova in 2018 and 2019. He figures to be back in the mix for 2021 after a victory in Monday’s $93,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes at Aqueduct.

My Boy Tate won the 6-furlong Hollie Hughes for the second time, adding his 1 ¼-length score Monday over Big Engine to his victory at odds-on in 2018.

Facing just three opponents following the scratch of Our Last Buck in this year’s Hollie Hughes, My Boy Tate and jockey Manny Franco were content to trail the quartet early while Tribecca and Amundson sparred on the front end. Tribecca, one of five nominees for champion New York-bred male sprinter in 2020 and the Hollie Hughes 7-5 favorite, cut fractions of :22.98 and :46.71 before shrugging off Amundson on the turn and opening a narrow lead in the lane.

“I had the perfect pace scenario in front of me,” Franco said. “I just took my time with him. I’ve been riding him and I’m usually close to the pace, but today, with a short field, I just let them go to the front and the move worked out because they came back to me.”

My Boy Tate wore down Tribecca and Big Engine late, taking the lead with about 70 yards to go to win going away. Big Engine held second, three-quarters of a length clear of Tribecca with Amundson eased in the lane.

“It was the perfect setup,” said Michelle Nevin, who bred, trains and owns My Boy Tate with Little Red Feather Racing. “Manny did the right thing. He sat chilly and let them come back to him.”

Nevin, who bred My Boy Tate out of the Sharp Humor mare Backlash, blamed herself for doing the wrong thing last time when she ran the 7-year-old gelding in the 7-furlong Say Florida Sandy Stakes Jan. 9 at Aqueduct. He’d finished fourth against open company in the Gravesend Stakes just a week prior and finished fourth again, behind stablemate Our Last Buck, Funny Guy and Runningwscissors.

“I was mad at myself last month … the temptation of coming back against a small field made me come back too quick,” Nevin said. “The scenario of the race looked like it was void of speed and he has speed. But as he has gotten older, he’s changed his ways. He’s happier to let them go a little bit, settle in and then come with a run.

“It’s great to see him run. He’s been a fun horse since he was a baby. He keeps showing up for me and keeps trying.”

My Boy Tate is the second foal out of the winning mare Backslash, a mare Nevin used to gallop that she admitted back in 2019 “didn’t know what to do with so decided to just breed her.”

Backslash’s first foal, the Frost Giant gelding Linkappleyard, won three of nine starts for Nevin as breeder-owner-trainer, and the third, a now 6-year-old Bluegrass Cat horse Charlie McCoy, is 3-4-1 from 13 starts with earnings of $186,191 for Nevin and partners Little Red Feather and Kevin Bogart. Blackslash’s fourth foal, the 4-year-old Big Brown gelding Slash Gordon, won at first asking last March at Aqueduct before a fourth in the Times Square division of the New York Stallion Stakes last summer at Saratoga.

Nevin also bred Blackslash’s now unraced 3-year-old Micromanage colt Michael Scott and co-bred her 2-year-old unnamed Bernardini filly and yearling filly by Frosted with Godolphin.

My Boy Tate improved to 8-for-22 and boosted his earnings to $527,288 in the Hollie Hughes, run for the 42nd time and named in honor of the 1973 Hall of Fame trainer who conditioned top runners on the flat and over jumps. A native of Amsterdam, N.Y., Hughes trained 1916 Kentucky Derby winner George Smith and won the American Grand National six times.

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