Big Everest takes the Artie Schiller under Joel Rosario (Chelsea Durand)
By Keith McCalmont – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Joel Rosario notched his fourth win on the card by guiding Big Everest to a gate-to-wire score in Sunday’s $135,000 Artie Schiller, a one-mile inner turf test for 3-year-olds and upward, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Christophe Clement for owners Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Steven Rocco and William Branch, the 4-year-old The Gurkha gelding has now won 4-of-5 starts on the year.
“He showed some speed early and he got there. They had a hard time to come and get him,” Rosario said. “He handled the [soft turf] really well. There was one point in the race where it was pretty soft, but when he got to the backside, he was really comfortable and he never had trouble.”
Big Everest broke alertly from post 2 and took command through splits of 24.45 seconds and 49.79 over the yielding going with Homer Screen in second and Shadow Sphinx saving ground in third to the inside of Pao Alto.
Rosario had Big Everest in-hand to the final turn as Trevor McCarthy gave Pao Alto his cue and Kendrick Carmouche angled Grade 1-winner Decorated Invader off the rail to launch his bid.
Big Everest held a two-length lead at the stretch call and continued to find more as Hall of Famer Javier Castellano cut the corner with Shadow Sphinx and dueled to the inside of Pao Alto. Shadow Sphinx put away Pao Alto and angled off the rail late in the lane and was gaining with every stride, but Big Everest had just enough to stave off his rival for the half-length score in a final time of 1:37.19.
Pao Alto, Decorated Invader, Airman and Homer Screen rounded out the order of finish. Sifting Sands, Wolfie’s Dynaghost, Good Governance, Somelikeithotbrown, Dynadrive and main-track only entrants Double Crown and Plot the Dots were scratched.
Christophe Lorieul, assistant to Clement, said the race shape changed when the Tom Albertrani-trained Airman broke outward and settled near the back of the pack rather than pressing the pace, as expected.
“We were the controlling speed and I told Joel that would likely be the case,” Lorieul said. “He seems to run very well that way when he is in control. It seems as though they match up very well with each other.”
The victory completed a remarkable day for Rosario, who won earlier on the card with Neural Network [Race 1, $12.80], Violent Vixen [Race 3, $23.20] and Bold Journey [Race 5, $5.60]. He finished second [Candy Light, Race 6] and third [Jane Grey, Race 7] with his two other mounts on the nine-race card.
Big Everest finished sixth in last year’s Allied Forces at Belmont Park in his only previous stakes attempt. He bested winners on three occasions this year, taking an allowance and optional-claimer at Belmont, along with a frontrunning optional-claiming score on September 29 at Belmont at the Big A.
“The whole fall we were pointing for this race and if there was going to be a stakes for him this year it was going to be this one,” Lorieul said. “After his last win, we said it was time for him to go to a stake. He’s going to go for a rest and we’ll see him next year.”
Castellano said the Mike Maker-trained Shadow Sphinx was game in defeat.
“I had a beautiful trip, I was just saving all the ground every step of the way,” Castellano said. “I like the way he did it and I like the way he finished. Unfortunately, there was not much pace in the race. The only horse with speed dictated the pace the whole way. But I’m very satisfied with the horse – he came running in the end and it was a good race for him.”
Bred in Great Britain by Newsells Park Stud, Big Everest banked $74,250 in victory while improving his record to 10-5-1-1. Sent to post the even-money favorite, he returned $4.20 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes Thursday at Aqueduct 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.
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