Morning Line overcame a three-wide trip with a determined stretch run to win the $250,000 Carter H. (G1) by 1 1/2-lengths April 9 at Aqueduct. (WATCH VIDEO
) The 4-year-old won last year's Pennsylvania Derby (G2) and was second in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and this year's Donn H. (G1), his most recent start.
Morning Line is Tiznow's leading earner of 2011 and one of three stakes horses by the WinStar stallion. Morning Line was one of 10 stakes winners and 20 stakes horses in 2010 for Tiznow, a top four sire in two of the past three years.
The pace in the seven furlong Carter was very quick. Morning Line was in the three path down the stretch and into the turn, two lengths back of Sunrise Smarty, who went a half-mile in :44.42 seconds. Morning Line actually dropped back just a bit coming into the stretch, but re-rallied strongly to collar the favorite, A Priority, at the sixteenth pole. Once he took the lead, he pulled away to stop the teletimer in a swift 1:21.46.
“I had a very good trip," winning rider John Velazquez said. "Everything went pretty much the way we hoped it would. Once he’s down in the lane, he’ll give you another gear. He finished up very well.”
Trainer Nick Zito was understandably ecstatic. “Amazing. I'm very grateful," Zito said. "I'm very happy for the horse. He's lost some tough ones; the Breeders’ Cup Mile was a heartbreaker. The Donn was a heartbreaker. He's such a well-deserving Grade 1 horse. He beat a top horse. It was a great run race. He did what a professional horse is supposed to do. He's just a very versatile horse. He'll probably run any distance.”
Morning Line, a $700,000 Keeneland September 2008 yearling purchase, has now earned $1,114,800. He was bought at that sale by his owner Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable. Morning Line was bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm.
Photo by David Alcosser