Friday, December 26, 2014

Salutos Amigos draws off to win Gravesend Handicap

Friday, December 26, 2014


Salutos Amigos draws off to win Gravesend Handicap


By Sean Morris


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Multiple graded stakes winner Salutos Amigos stalked the early pace and made a daring move along the rail to win the $100,000 Gravesend Handicap by a widening 2 ½ lengths on Friday at Aqueduct Racetrack.


Trained by David Jacobson, Salutos Amigos entered the Gravesend off a 1 ¾-length victory in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight on Thanksgiving Day at the Big A. The 4-year-old son of Salute the Sarge also won the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap in the fall at Belmont Park, before finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita Park on November 1.


A perfect 3-for-3 at Aqueduct but racing for the first time over the Big A's inner track on Friday, Salutos Amigos broke well and patiently tracked the early pace set by Green Gratto and Dads Caps of 22.92 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.85 for the half.


Entering the stretch, the bay gelding dove to the rail under Irad Ortiz, Jr., and after a few tense moments, emerged from a narrow opening and powered home to complete the six furlongs in 1:09.51.


"I got a perfect trip; he broke well and sat just off the lead," said Ortiz. "I tried not to use him up early and had plenty of horse for the finish. I got the chance to go inside in the stretch and had plenty of horse."


Salutos Amigos, who is owned in partnership by Jacobson and Southern Equine Stable, earned his sixth win since Jacobson took over his training in early 2014. The salty sprinter returned $4.40 on a $2 win wager and bumped his bankroll to $687,406.


"He was spectacular, as usual," said Jacobson. "The race laid out just the way we thought it would, with Dads Caps and Green Gratto setting the early pace. [Jockey] Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] did an amazing job again; there's not that much to say. We were hoping he would get through [along the inside], and then [Irad] lost his stick. It gets to be a concern, but this horse went into the race as good as he's ever gone into a race. It was a great performance and a great ride by Irad."


Mewannarose finished second, a half-length in front of 6-5 second-choice Dads Caps. Green Gratto and Crafty Dreamer completed the order of finish.



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