Jamaican Maragh wins US$200,000 race
Jamaican Rajiv Maragh produced a searing stretch run with 5-1 chance Spartiatis to win the Grade 3 US$200,000 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct here Saturday.
In a six-furlong trip for older sprinters, Maragh stalked with the seven-year-old gelding before rousing him at the top of the stretch and hauling in the front-runner, to reach the wire by two lengths in a time of one minute, 11.23 seconds.
"Blue gave me a loose rein to do whatever I wanted to do," Maragh said in reference to trainer Leon 'Blue' Blusiewicz.
"So when the horse broke that sharp, I was just going to sit close and he was trying to drag me to the lead, which I didn't want to do. I got him to settle back and then once I put him in the clear, he was powerful down the lane."
"I knew from riding this horse that his best run is when you swing him out into the stretch and give him a clear racetrack, and he runs good like that," Maragh explained.
For Spartiatis, it was his fifth win in 31 starts but his maiden stakes win.
The victory, meanwhile, capped off a superb day in the saddle for Maragh, who also captured race five over a mile with 4-1 bet Erik the Red and returned in race six over six furlongs to win with 13-1 outsider Wrong Ben.
He lies fourth in the standings on 36 wins, 10 adrift of leader Irad Ortiz Jr.