WinStar Farms', China Horse Club International's and SF Racing's New York Central found an opening along the fence in upper stretch en route to a 1 3/4-length victory in the $150,000 Maryland Sprint S. (G3) on Preakness Day at Pimlico.
After making his 2019 stakes debut in the April 6 Commonwealth S. (G3) at Keeneland, New York Central cut back to six furlongs in Saturday's race. Allowed to sit several lengths off the pace by jockey Rafael Santana, Jr., New York Central let Lewisfield zip through a half-mile in :44.84.
Still hugging the fence in upper stretch, New York Central took advantage when the pacesetter drifted wide, scooting past to take the lead and draw clear in the final strides. The six furlongs went in 1:08.74 on a fast track.
“He had a little bit of an issue after the Pat Day Mile (G3, in 2018, when finishing second) behind, so we turned him out and were real patient with him and it’s paid off,” said WinStar's Elliott Walden. “He’s come back great and (trainer Steve Asmussen) felt like this was a perfect spot for him. He did a great job. I think he’s a one-turn horse. He ran very well in the Pat Day Mile to be second at a mile around one turn. The way he was able to just sit behind the pace and then kick like he did, they ran fast, so it was a big race.”
Walden indicated that New York Central would be pointed towards the sprint stakes at Saratoga.
New York Central's record is now 3-2-1 in 8 starts and has earned $220,700.