Bank On Shea opens Belmont meet with upset victory

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

Bank On Shea takes advantage and wins Affirmed Success to open the Belmont Park spring-summer meeting. Janet Garaguso/NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Tyler Servis and Kendrick Carmouche chatted on the phone Friday morning about strategy for the first stakes of Belmont Park’s spring-summer meeting, and more specifically about what to do with Bank On Shea’s inside draw in the $100,000 Affirmed Success Stakes.

“I spoke to Kendrick this morning and I told him we didn’t need the lead,” said Servis, who trains the 4-year-old New York-bred Central Banker colt for Shea D Boys Stable.

Servis might have been correct – and Bank On Shea had won from off the pace in the past, just not from the rail – but it didn’t really matter in the 6-furlong Affirmed Success.

Bank On Shea wound up on the lead, partly because of a little coaxing from Carmouche at the break and mostly because none of the expected early speed materialized. And with that Bank On Shea did all the work on the front and stayed there en route to a 1-length victory Wudda U Think Now. Bank On Shea, the 7-1 fifth choice in the field of six older state-breds, improved to 4-for-6 with his victory in 1:09.85.

“We talked this morning and Tyler said [the inside post] was the best position to be in whether we wanted to be on the lead or sit off of it,” said Carmouche, who rode Bank On Shea to victory in an open allowance March 19 off a 13-month layoff. “We were thinking about sitting coming out of the one with everybody wanting to go, but when the gates opened and (Winners Laugh) didn’t go, it’s up to me to do the correct thing.”

Servis took over the colt’s training last year from his uncle Jason Servis, who had his license suspended in March 2020 while facing federal charges for allegedly using misbranded and illegal drugs on his horses.

Bank On Shea won the Great White Way division of the New York Stallion Stakes and finished third in the Notebook Stakes as a 2-year-old in 2019. He also finished second in the Gander Stakes last February in his lone start at 3.

“He always was a nice horse from the start,” said Tyler Servis, winning his first stakes on the NYRA circuit. “Just to get a horse and for him to overcome a lot of the things that he’s had to overcome really means a lot.”

Bank On Shea led through the first quarter-mile in :22.80 with some pressure from the eventual runner-up before opening up by a length through the half in :46.11. He and Carmouche held that advantage in the lane to earn the $55,000 first-place check. Wudda U Think Now finished 5 ½ lengths clear of 5-2 second choice Big Engine with 8-5 favorite Captain Bombastic a non-threatening fifth and Winners Laugh last of six after tossing his head at the start and hitting the gate at the break.

Stewards took a look at the break but determined Winners Laugh caused his own problems, which left him 12 1/2 lengths back at the quarter and 10 1/2 behind at the half.

Bred by Dr. Scott W. Pierce and foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs, Bank On Shea is the first foal out of the unraced Uncle Mo mare Miss Moultree. Shea D Boy Stable purchased Bank On Shea for $110,000 at the 2019 OBS April sale of 2-year-olds in training after the colt breezed an eighth in :10 during presale workouts.

Miss Moultree sold in foal to Central Banker for $2,200 at the 2017 Keeneland November breeding stock sale to Ellen Caines. She did not produce a foal in 2018 or 2019 but delivered an Oklahoma-bred filly by Home of the Brave last April.

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