Works for Me lands stakes score in Notebook

Saturday, November 18th, 2023

Works for Me (outside) edges Detective Tom late to win Saturday’s $100,000 Notebook Stakes at Aqueduct. Joe Labozzetta/NYRA Photo.

Fresh off back-to-back placings in open stakes, Works for Me made a winning return to the state-bred ranks with a victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Notebook Stakes for 2-year-olds at Aqueduct.

A homebred son of Daddy Long Legs for KatieRich Stables, Chris Connors and Larry Appel, Works for Me and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. wore down stubborn frontrunner Detective Tom late to win the 6-furlong Notebook by a head. Aggelos the Great came up just short in his bid up the inside to finish third in the 10th renewal of the Notebook.

“Obviously, having Irad is great; it’s an asset,” winning trainer Joe Lee said. “I was pretty comfortable not with the race, but just comfortable having Irad. The way it turned out, we were outside and we were able to sit and rate today as opposed to being on the lead. In his last race on turf, [he was] kind of stuck down inside and had to get to the front again, so he’s never really rated. If you look back at his races, he’s always having to go to the front; not because he wants to or because of the jockey, but because of the way the race set up, the break of the race and so forth.”

Works for Me came into the Notebook off a second in the off-the-turf Futurity Stakes Oct. 8 and a close third in the 6-furlong Atlantic Beach Stakes on the turf Nov. 4, both during the Belmont at the Big A meeting.

The 6-5 favorite in the field of eight, Works for Me bobbled a bit at the break as 15-1 longshot Detective Tom zipped off to an easy lead through the opening quarter-mile in :23.28. Works for Me recovered from his start and put pressure on the leader around the far turn, and the two were separate by a length through the half in :47.04.

Detective Tom, fifth last time out in the Bertram F. Bongard and making his first start for Michelle Nevin, spurted away again in the stretch and led by a length in midstretch. Works for Me cut into that margin inside the eighth pole before getting up in time in 1:12.06 over the fast main track. Detective Tom finished three quarters of a length in front of 2-1 second choice Aggelos the Great. Perliano, Always a Warrior, Wine Responsibility, Bonne Chance and Ice the Kicker completed the field.

Saturday’s Notebook produced a three-way photo with Works for Me (6) edging Detective Tom and Aggelos the Great. NYRA Photo.

“My horse was trying,” Ortiz said. “When I turned for home, I waited as long as I could. He never gave up and he was there. When I called his attention, he was responding. It was a good feeling I thought. I thought I could get there any time.”

Works for Me started his career in Kentucky, finishing a close third in a 5-furlong maiden special weight May 18 at Churchill Down for trainer Daniel Leitch. Transferred to Lee after that effort, Works for Me won a 5-furlong maiden at Belmont Park June 23 before a fourth in the Funny Cide Stakes on the Saratoga Showcase Day program in late August.

The Notebook was worth $55,000 to Works for Me, who improved to 2-1-2 in six starts and earnings of $160,150. Lee and Works for Me’s other connections considered Sunday’s $120,000 Central Park Stakes on the turf but opted to return to the main track Saturday.

“The owners saw that with the odds, the grass and having to go a mile for the first time, they thought that maybe the better option was going against New York-breds short on the dirt,” Lee said. “I know he ran well on the turf last time, but pretty much it was the owners’ decision, so I guided them on it.”

Foaled at Doyle Farm in Schuylerville, Works for Me is the first foal out of the Soldat mare Bella’s Game, a two-time winner in eight starts and earner of $58,850. A $90,000 purchase at the 2017 OBS April 2-year-olds in training sale, Bella’s Game is a half-sister to stakes-placed She’s Like Thunder from the family of 2001 Kentucky Derby runner-up Invisible Ink.

Bella’s Game did not produce a foal in 2022, when she did not sell in foal to Beau Liam at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale. She delivered a filly by Beau Liam, bred in New York by Taylor Barraclough and Shane Barraclough, in early April.

Leave a Reply