My Boy Tate edges Bankit to win Haynesfield

Sunday, March 28th, 2021

My Boy Tate wins second straight stakes in Sunday’s Haynesfield at Aqueduct. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Michelle Nevin blamed herself for My Boy Tate’s poor effort two starts back, gave him more time between starts and wound up rewarded when her 7-year-old homebred won his first stakes since late 2019.

The trainer and co-owner of the Boys At Tosconova gelding followed a similar pattern for his next try and was rewarded again in Sunday’s $97,000 Haynesfield Stakes at Aqueduct. My Boy Tate, stretching out to a distance with a question mark, outfinished favored Bankit in deep stretch to win the 1-mile Haynesfield by a neck.

“I wasn’t 100 percent confident because we tried it twice and it didn’t work out,” Nevin said of the distance, where My Boy Tate was 0-for-2. “Lately, he’s been a lot more relaxed early on in his races and I thought that might help him to get home. He loves a wet track and he loves Aqueduct.”

My Boy Tate improved his Aqueduct record to 7-for-13 with the win, his fifth in six starts on a wet track. Eric Cancel, who locked up the Aqueduct winter meeting riding title earlier on the card, rode My Boy Tate for his sixth winner of the day. He ended the meet with 78 winners, two more than Kendrick Carmouche.

“I’m filled with emotions,” said the 24-year-old Cancel, winning his first meet title. “I worked very hard for this and being able to compete with a guy like Kendrick, who is a very hard-riding guy, it feels wonderful. Yesterday, I didn’t think I was going to get it. But today, I just woke up and said to keep on swinging and go for it. I want to thank my agent and all the owners and trainers who gave me the opportunity to be here and win this meet.”

Cancel got the call from Nevin aboard My Boy Tate for the first time in the Haynesfield, which looked a spot for Bankit to win his third straight stakes after victories in late December in the Alex M. Robb at Aqueduct and last month in the John B. Campbell at Laurel Park.

Manny Franco, who rode My Boy Tate last time in his 1 ¼-length win in the Hollie Hughes, took the call aboard Bankit for trainer Steve Asmussen and his New York-based assistant Toby Sheets. Carmouche rode Nevin’s other runner, William Schettine’s homebred South Africa making his stakes debut.

Coming off three straight runner-up efforts in state-bred optionals at Aqueduct, South Africa took the early initiative and led out of the chute and through the opening quarter-mile in :23.16. By Boy Tate and Bankit, the 4-5 favorite racing a little closer than usual, gave chase up the backstretch.

South Africa continued to splash through the slop and led through the half in :46.17, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Bankit with My Boy Tate another length back in third. Bankit started his run around the far turn, chasing down the suddenly open-length leader South Africa turning into the lane. South Africa still led through 6 furlongs in 1:10.64 as Bankit joined him on the outside.

Bankit eventually edged clear in the stretch while My Boy Tate continued to make progress several paths off the rail. My Boy Tate stuck his head in front about 20 yards from the finish to win in 1:36.37. Bankit held second, 3 lengths in front of South Africa with Microscope fourth and T Loves a Fight fifth.

Eric Cancel celebrates his sixth winner, and the Aqueduct winter meet title, aboard My Boy Tate. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.

“I was telling Michelle that he’s very talented,” Cancel said. “He’s been improving as he’s gotten older. He’s been doing everything perfect. The last few races, he’s just been sitting very nice and patient and making his run. I tried to ride him confident and just wait into the last eighth and just go on from there.”

My Boy Tate improved to 9-for-23 with five seconds and two thirds with the win, worth $55,000 to pad his bankroll to $582,288 for Nevin and Little Red Feather Racing. He’s now won three of six, dating back to an open allowance Sept. 23 at Parx Racing and the two stakes wins.

Confidence is brewing in the gelding and he reminds Nevin’s team daily.

“He is something else,” Nevin said. “He makes everybody in the barn work hard for it. He’s a wiry tough guy to be around. But when he runs, he really puts his effort out.”

Foaled at Rockridge Stud in Hudson, My Boy Tate is the second foal out of the winning Sharp Humor 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, named Michael Scott after the namesake of the lead character from the former NBC hit sitcom The Office. She also co-bred, with Godolphin, Blackslash’s 2-year-old unnamed Bernardini filly and a yearling filly by Frosted. The Bernardini filly is consigned to the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale on March 31 where she is Hip 74.

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