OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s multiple stakes-winner Bankit seeks a third consecutive trip to the winner’s circle against stakes company in Sunday’s sixth running of the $100,000 Haynesfield, a one-turn mile for New York-bred older horses at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Haynesfield honors Turtle Bird Stable’s eight-time stakes winner who won at such caliber at ages 2, 3, 4 and 5. The son of Speightstown’s biggest claim to fame was handing eventual Champion Older Horse Blame his only defeat in 2010 with a wire-to-wire triumph in that year’s Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. Haynesfield, bred in New York by Barry Weisbord and Margaret Santulli, also stuck graded stakes gold in the 2010 Grade 2 Suburban and the prior year’s Grade 3 Discovery at Aqueduct. He retired with a 19-10-2-1 lifetime record and a bankroll of $1,319,418.
Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who also conditioned the race’s namesake, Bankit broke through against open stakes company in the John B. Campbell on February 20 at Laurel Park, defeating next out stakes-winner Cordmaker. The son of leading New York sire Central Banker previously defeated Empire State legend Mr. Buff – last year’s winner of the Haynesfield – and next-out winner Yankee Division in the Alex M. Robb on December 12, where he recorded a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure.
Like Haynesfield, Bankit also won stakes in four straight years. He captured the Sleepy Hollow in October 2018 during his juvenile campaign and the following year won the New York Derby at Finger Lakes.
Through a record of 27-5-8-4, keeping a consistent pattern is nothing new for Bankit, who was stakes placed at Oaklawn Park in three of his first four starts of 2020. But two victories in a row is something that the accomplished bay had not yet done before until this season, and he’ll have his chance to one up that on Sunday.
“His speed figures have improved and he has got better with age in general,” said Winchell Thoroughbreds’ racing and bloodstock advisor David Fiske. “He’s put some nice runs in and we’ll see what he can do. He’s been awfully durable and always fun to have around. In the past, he’s obviously shown that he doesn’t have to compete necessarily against state-breds to be consistent. He ran great at Oaklawn a few times last winter. He just keeps on bringing home checks. He’s consistent and sound and always seems to show up. I can’t remember too many clunkers he’s thrown in.”
Bred by Hidden Brook Farm and Blue Devil Racing, Bankit is out of the Colonel John mare Sister in Arms, a half-sister to turf graded stakes winner Quiet Meadow.
Jockey Manny Franco will ride Bankit for the first time on Sunday from post 5.
Trainer Michelle Nevin will saddle a pair of runners in My Boy Tate [post 3, Eric Cancel] and South Africa [post 2, Kendrick Carmouche].
Bred and owned by Nevin in partnership with Little Red Feather Racing, My Boy Tate will look to notch his second consecutive stakes win at Aqueduct.
The veteran son of Boys At Tosconova registered his sixth win in 12 starts at the Big A last out, rallying for a 1 1/4-length win over Big Engine in the six-furlong Hollie Hughes against fellow state-breds on February 15.
My Boy Tate is 6-2-1 when competing at the Queens track, serving as the home for three-quarters of his eight career wins. After a pair of fourth-place stakes finishes at the track to start 2021, My Boy Tate earned a 95 Beyer in the Hollie Hughes.
Nevin will also send out William Schettine’s South Africa, who be making his stakes debut in his ninth career start. The 4-year-old Will Take Charge colt crossed the wire second last out on February 25 in a six-furlong Big A optional claimer sprint but was elevated to first when Steam Engine was disqualified.
The homebred made his seasonal debut with a runner-up effort on January 30 at the same distance in a state-bred optional-claiming event at the Big A. Since September, South Africa has finished first or second in all six of his starts and sports a 3-3-0 record in eight career starts.
Rounding out the field are Microscope [post 1, Benjamin Hernandez], a three-time winner at the Big A, and stakes winner T Loves a Fight [post 4, Trevor McCarthy].
The Haynesfield is slated as Race 7 on Sunday’s eight-race program. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.
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Aqueduct Press Release
Photo: Bankit winning the Alex M. Robb at Aqueduct Dec. 12, 2020. (Joe Labozzetta)