OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Perry Harrison’s Change of Control overtook pacesetter Athwaaq when straightened for home and repelled 6-5 favorite Too Sexy’s deep-stretch bid to post a victory by three-quarters of a length in Sunday’s $150,000 Autumn Days for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going six furlongs on Aqueduct Racetrack’s outer turf.
Change of Control, who already registered a pair of graded stakes wins in her 5-year-old campaign, including a last-out score in the Grade 3 Franklin County in October at Keeneland, made a successful debut at the Big A, tallying her fourth stakes win of 2021 for trainer Michelle Lovell.
The fifth running of the Autumn Days saw Athwaaq break on top from post 6, leading the eight-horse field through an opening quarter mile in 23.26 seconds and the half in 46.28 over firm going. Jockey Colby Hernandez tucked Change of Control in third position near the rail, with the pocket position enabling her to move up to second out of the turn.
Once straightened for home, Change of Control capitalized with the open seam from the inside, overtaking a tiring Athwaaq. Hernandez kept his charge to task as Too Sexy rallied to pass three rivals, gaining in the shadow of the wire before Change of Control completed the course in a 1:09.14 final time to improve to 4-2-3 in 10 starts this year.
Hernandez’s rail-riding trip earned Change of Control, off at 7-2, a winner’s circle trip, returning $9.90 on a $2 win bet. She improved her career earnings to $739,257.
“She gave us a good break and I was right there,” Hernandez said. “I tried to pop out and run second but they weren’t letting me out. I saw the horse on the front looked like she was going to come out at the top of the stretch and we stayed there and it ended up working out perfect.
“Every single time she runs, it’s like she gets better,” he added. “She’s just a cool horse, does nothing wrong and anything you ask her, she does. She’s a very cool horse to ride.”
Change of Control, bred in Kentucky by John O’ Meara, is 2-for-2 at NYRA-operated tracks this year after winning the Grade 3 Intercontinental in June at Belmont Park.
“Colby rode her perfect. He never panicked,” Lovell said. “He stayed right there on the inside and she just looked awesome. She did well in New York when we sent her up to Belmont in the summer, so I just thought this race was a really good spot. The owner gave us a lot of time finding the best races for her. She’s really thriving and coming into her own.”
Lovell said Change of Control will now winter in Louisiana in preparing for her 6-year-old year in 2022 before embarking on the next phase of her career.
“She’ll go to Fair Grounds for the winter. We’ll try to map out her races really well over the winter, spring and summertime and then she’ll go to the breeding shed,” Lovell said. “I’m not really sure what our plan is from here, but she’ll come back to Churchill and come to Fair Grounds with the rest of my barn.”
Too Sexy, trained by Christophe Clement, topped the slow-starting Love And Thunder by one length for second. Jockey Jose Lezcano, who was aboard for Too Sexy’s last-out win in the Floral Park in October at Belmont, said the outcome might have been different with a slightly more advantageous trip.
“She broke well and I had to wait a little bit until the eighth pole,” Lezcano said. “She gave a very good race and ran strong. She did everything right, the winner is just a very good horse. I think she also got a better trip than I got. I had to go between horses and she got through on the inside.”
Miss Majorette, Piedi Bianchi, Athwaaq, Raven’s Cry and Secure Connection completed the order of finish.
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 daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule. NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
Photo: NYRA Photo, Coglianese Photos