Saturday, January 17, 2015

Willet rebounds to take Interborough

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Willet rebounds to take Interborough


By Sean Morris


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Given an exceptional ride by Irad Ortiz, Jr., the New York-bred mare Willet swept to the front in the stretch of the $100,000 Interborough on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack to prevail by 1 ½ lengths.


Entering the Interborough off a disappointing third-place finish in the Garland of Roses and a seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 Go For Wand Handicap, the 7-year-old Willet proved she's still at the top of her game.


Although her recent form didn't show it, Willet's trainer, Jimmy Iselin, believed his star pupil was ready to fire a big race.


"It's great that she bounced back after the last race," said Iselin, who also owns Willet in partnership with Charlotte Assoulin. "[The Garland of Roses] was a little concerning. But after that, she was flourishing. So we made a decision to race, on a great day and a great track. It's exciting that she came back and showed what she can do."


Away in good order, Willet lagged several lengths behind a spirited early pace of 22.57 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.41 for the half set by Bridgehampton. As the group of older fillies and mares turned for home, Willet swung to the outside and set sail for home with Ortiz stealing a glance behind him, confident he had the competition in front of him measured.


"I got a pretty good trip," said Ortiz. "She likes to come from behind, and there was plenty of pace. When she broke she was relaxed, and she finished pretty good. She was ready."


Willet completed the six furlongs in 1:10.65, and returned $6.30 on a $2 win wager. No future plans have been set for the daughter of Jump Start, according to Iselin, with the option to breed her looming on the horizon.


With the winner's share of $60,000, the bay mare has now earned $746,900, compiling a record of 9-7-4 from 23 starts.


Aireofdistinction, a recent acquisition by trainer David Jacobson, finished second, a neck in front of Garland of Roses winner Expression. Stormy Novel, Bridgehampton, and Cape Cod Carol completed the order of finish.










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