Bankit Cashes in With NYSSS Thunder Rumble Victory

December 4, 2022

Bankit rolls home in the NYSSS Thunder Rumble (Chelsea Durand)

By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s millionaire New York-bred Bankit added a seventh stakes score to his impressive resume when he stalked and pounced to an open-length victory in Sunday’s $125,000 NYSSS Thunder Rumble for eligible state-sired 3-year-olds and up sprinting seven furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the 6-year-old son of leading New York sire Central Banker stalked the pace set by fellow New York-bred millionaire Somelikeithotbrown and easily took command at the top of the stretch to storm home 3 1/4 lengths in front.

“He’s been doing phenomenal. He loves it here and he loves Belmont and loves the track there,” said Toby Sheets, the Belmont Park-based assistant to Asmussen. “He’s just been doing really well. I know his little ins and outs and he looks like a summer horse today – he had a glow about him.”

Guided to victory by Jose Lezcano from the outermost post 5, Bankit broke sharply and relinquished the lead to the Jose Ortiz-piloted Somelikeithotbrown, who skimmed the rail and led the compact field thought an opening quarter mile in 23.13 seconds over the muddy going. Bankit kept Somelikeithotbrown well within range as 2019 Thunder Rumble winner My Boy Tate maintained inside position in third.

Bankit was asked for more as the field reached the half-mile marker in 46.29, matching strides with Somelikeithotbrown while rounding the turn and putting his head in front at the top of the lane. Meanwhile, My Boy Tate was swung wide and around his foes to make his run for the lead down the center of the racetrack several paths outside of Somelikeithotbrown.

Both horses kept on well to preserve their positions, but there was no catching a runaway Bankit, who continued to widen his margin down the stretch and secure the victory over Somelikeithotbrown in a final time of 1:23.24. Somelikeithotbrown held place honors by 3 1/4 lengths over My Boy Tate with Ocala Dream and Chowda rounding out the order of finish. Cicciobello, Dreamer’s Disease and Neuro were scratched.

Sheets said he was concerned about the scratches from the race, including Dreamer’s Disease, who won the Delta Mile in wire-to-wire fashion on November 5 for trainer Ricky Courville.

“I liked the race better when the other horses were in it because there was more speed, but he was sharp,” said Sheets. “He breezed really well the other day and it worked out well today. He deserves it.”

Lezcano said the outside post benefited Bankit.

“He broke pretty well. Other times, I feel like he’s a better horse when he’s on the outside,” said Lezcano. “He broke pretty clear and put him right there and when I asked him, he kicked on and won the race. He had no one outside of him, so he felt more confident. He jumped into the bridle right away and when I asked him, he went on with it.”

Lezcano has been aboard Bankit for some of his most memorable victories, including a 13 1/4-length romp in the state-bred Commentator last year at Belmont Park.

“He’s a nice horse,” Lezcano said. “I’ve ridden him about three or four times and every time I’ve ridden him, he’s given me a good effort.”

Bankit returns a winner (Susie Raisher)

Bankit arrived at the Thunder Rumble from a more than three-month layoff, his last effort a distant second to Somelikeithotbrown in an off-the-turf edition of the West Point presented by Trustco Bank on August 26 at Saratoga Race Course. Earlier in the meet, he won the Evan Shipman by a nose over multiple stakes-winner Sea Foam in his first start since returning from a trip to Meydan Racecourse in Dubai to finish sixth in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile in March.

Bred in the Empire State by Hidden Brook Farm and Blue Devil Racing, Bankit returned $6.90 for a $2 win wager and earned $68,750 in victory, boosting his total purse earnings to $1,258,405 through a record of 36-8-11-5. The $250,000 OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase is out of the Colonel John mare Sister in Arms, a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-placed Quiet Meadow.

The Mike Maker-trained Somelikeithotbrown made just his fourth career outing over the dirt in 30 starts and made a cutback from his usual preferred distance of one mile to 1 1/16 miles. Ortiz said he was proud of how the son of Big Brown managed the conditions.

“I had a good trip. I was a little worried about the seven furlongs today, cutting back after so many races going a mile,” said Ortiz. “He handled it well, I was happy. He broke well, put me into a good position and I was second best.”

Live racing resumes Thursday at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of the Aqueduct fall meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.

NYRA Bets is the best way to bet every race of the Aqueduct Racetrack fall meet. Available to horse players nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.

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