Bank Heist colt Kazmike wins NYSS Times Square

Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

Kazmike scores maiden victory under Trevor McCarthy in Saturday’s Times Square division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

By Melissa Bauer-Herzog

Peter Kazamias’s homebred Kazmike broke his maiden in a huge way Saturday when he took out the Times Square division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series at Aqueduct.

Making his third start after debuting March 5, the 3-year-old Bank Heist colt had put in promising works for trainer Dimitrios Synnefias in recent weeks, breezing a bullet :47.50 at Penn National Race Course two works back March 22. That convinced his connections to take a look at the 6 ½-furlong Times Square – a move that paid off with a $110,000 payday for the winner.

Breaking from the widest gate in the field of seven, Kazmike shot to the front within a sixteenth of the break and quickly opened up a length on the field. There was a small group of horses behind the leader as he registered a first quarter in :22.61 with that trio of Mister Larry, Unique Unions and 3-10 favorite Barese deciding to make their move at the leader around the turn.

Kazmike handled the pressure with aplomb, with only one rival sticking with him as they ran down the stretch. Unique Unions tried to get in front throughout the lane but Kazmike edged away in the final sixteenth to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:18.70. Barese, fifth last time out in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial, finished 5 1/4 lengths back in third with Mo Dancin fourth.

“He’s kind of a bit of a grinder so I just wanted to let him get into stride,” winning jockey Trevor McCarthy said. “I wanted to make sure I got his lead changed. Last time he didn’t want to switch and he’s one that really likes to run in the bridle. I just wanted to get a good hand ride – get a good rhythm before I went to sticking on him and he really gave me a second gear when I kind of switched sticks and he kind of moseyed on up.”

By Kazamias’ resident stallion Bank Heist, Kazmike was born on his owner’s Kaz Hill Farm in Middletown and is out of the 10-time winner and stakes-placed New York-bred Behrnik. That mare was owned and trained by Kazamias in the final race of her career after he claimed her for $25,000 at Aqueduct in June 2006. She would finish second in Monmouth Park in her sole start under his name before heading to the breeding shed.

She has been a successful broodmare for her owner, producing seven winners from eight foals. Kazmike is a full brother to the two-time stakes winner Behrnik’s Bank with another half-sibling winning six races and a third winning four.

“Right now, I have about 40 mares,” Kazamias said of his New York-bred breeding program. “We just got a new stallion that we’re breeding a lot of mares to, Name Changer, by Uncle Mo. We expect to do well by him, the babies are fantastic.”

Saturday’s winner is a third-generation New York-bred, with Kazmike’s granddam Lady Mondegreen stakes placed in the 1995 New York Oaks. That mare went on to have five winners from her five to win but multiple daughters producing winners in the U.S., Italy, and Puerto Rico.

Behrnik has a 2-year-old New York-bred full brother to Kazmike named Money Making Kaz. She was one of 25 mares to visit Name Changer last year in his first season at stud and produced a colt Feb. 11 in New York.

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