Acoustic Ave. Photo by Susie Raisher
By Keith McCalmont
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Acoustic Ave secured his third consecutive stakes score, outdueling favored D’ont Lose Cruz to the wire in Friday’s $100,000 Notebook, a six-furlong sprint for New York-bred juveniles, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The dramatic stretch run kicked off the first of four stakes on a lucrative nine-race card that also features the Grade 3, $300,000 Long Island in Race 6; the Grade 3, $175,000 Comely in Race 7; and the $150,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship in Race 8.
Trained by Christophe Clement and piloted by Manny Franco, the Maclean’s Music chestnut was off a step slow and tracked in second as the Irad Ortiz, Jr.-piloted D’ont Lose Cruz blitzed through splits of 23.38 seconds and 47.59 over the fast main track. Acoustic Ave pressed to the outside of the pacesetter into the turn as Starquist advanced to third position and angled off the rail for the stretch run.
Acoustic Ave and D’ont Lose Cruz went eye-to-eye for the stretch run with both competitors digging in gamely, but the more seasoned colt pulled away in the final jumps to prevail by a half-length in a final time of 1:13.68. D’ont Lose Cruz held second by a head over the hard-charging Starquist with Flashy Alex and Mshindi rounding out the order of finish. General Banker was scratched.
It was a record third Notebook score for Clement, who won this race previously with Sea Foam  and Senbei – last year’s New York-bred Champion 2-Year-Old Male, who is co-owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Darlene Bilinski.
“He has a tremendous amount of life and a great level of energy,” Clement said. “I love the fact that Manny did not actually have to chase the speed. He just sat off the pace and the horse responded. He was game and finished all the way until the end.”
Franco said he resorted to the backup plan after the sluggish start.
“He kind of broke a step slow and my plan was to go [to the lead], but it was perfect,” Franco said. “The four horse [D’ont Lose Cruz] was clear and we went around him and then he did the rest.
“I like him when he’s on the front end, but today he sat off another horse and that was good,” added Franco. “I like him, and he fights hard.”
Ortiz, Jr. said D’ont Lose Cruz, who entered from an impressive gate-to-wire maiden win here on October 27, was hard to handle down the lane.
“My horse broke good and did everything right. He just got beat down the lane,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “He wasn’t helping me too much with drifting a little. I had to fight with him the whole stretch.”
Acoustic Ave, a $200,000 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase, has made all five of his career starts against fellow state-breds, graduating on debut in July at Saratoga Race Course ahead of a distant third in a muddy and sealed edition of the Spa’s Funny Cide won by well-regarded Andiamo a Firenze. He entered the Notebook from back-to-back wins at Finger Lakes, romping by 9 1/4-lengths in the Aspirant in September ahead of a last-out nose score over Andiamo a Firenze in the New York Breeders’ Futurity on October 26 that the third-place finisher, Stonewall Star, exited to win the Key Cents here last weekend.
“He’s a 2-year-old with five starts and three stakes wins. He’s obviously very tough in his own division,” Clement said. “We’ll more than likely put him away for the winter and bring him back in the spring and see what happens. He’s a fun horse. He’s very game as you can see. He was very game in his last race and he was very game today as well.”
Bred in the Empire State by Chester and Mary Broman, Acoustic Ave is out of the Street Boss mare Rock Ave. Road, who is a half-sister to stakes-winner Can You Diggit. He banked $55,000 in victory while improving his record to 5-4-0-1. Acoustic Ave returned $5.60 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes Saturday at Aqueduct with a 10-race card highlighted by the $120,000 Central Park in Race 5, the Grade 3, $175,000 Fall Highweight in Race 8 and the Grade 2, $300,000 Red Smith in Race 9. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.