Moonage Daydream Rockets to Victory in $120K Stewart Manor

November 5, 2022

By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Chris Larsen’s New York homebred Moonage Daydream passed her first test against open company with flying colors as she scored a wire-to-wire victory in Saturday’s $120,000 Stewart Manor, a six-furlong outer turf sprint for juvenile fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Jorge Abreu, Moonage Daydream entered from a closing one-length score in a state-bred maiden special weight going the Stewart Manor distance on September 30 at Belmont at the Big A. After sporting blinkers for a fifth-place finish in her first outing on July 28 at Saratoga Race Course, the daughter of Candy Ride raced with blinkers off in her last start and is now a perfect 2-for-2 without the equipment.

Moonage Daydream emerged the best from the inside post under Reylu Gutierrez and rushed up to take charge in the first strides as Hurricane Debbie was squeezed tightly from post 4 and dropped back 15 lengths from the pace. Dontlookbackatall tracked in second with Abreu’s other entry, Georgees Spirit, and Dulcia battling for third through an opening quarter-mile in 22.30 seconds over the firm footing.

Approaching the turn, post-time 3-5 favorite Redifined began to work her way to the front and was swung to the five-path under Jose Lezcano to put her within striking range. After a half-mile in 44.66, Moonage Daydream continued to hold her advantage but came under threat from a loaded Redifined as the field straightened for the drive to the finish. Moonage Daydream dug in gamely under a strong ride from Gutierrez and would not be denied, staving off Redifined to post the 1 1/4-length victory in a final time of 1:08.66.

The Manny Franco-piloted Georgees Spirit rallied to finish a neck behind Redifined with Dontlookbackatall two lengths behind her to round out the superfecta. Dulcia, Recinto Rompere, Showgirl Lynne B and Hurricane Debbie completed the order of finish. Main-track only entrant Shidabhuti was scratched.

Abreu said he was surprised to see Moonage Daydream dictate the tempo after racing from off-the-pace in her first two starts.

“I told him [Gutierrez] to break and be forwardly placed, but I don’t like my horses on the lead,” said Abreu. “He told me after, ‘If I lose this race, I knew I was going to be in trouble…” and I said [laughing], ‘You’re right.’”

Gutierrez said Moonage Daydream showed heart down the stretch.

“I was moving very comfortably. My filly was pretty brave and turning for home – it was 44 but it wasn’t a quick 44 – and she handled it really well,” said Gutierrez. “Getting the extra push from the horse coming on, that meant even more. She’s very comfortable. She could have gone a bit farther today, actually. She galloped out really well.”

Abreu said Georgees Sprirt, who was a last-out sixth in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo at Belmont at the Big A, gave her best effort.

“Manny said she was a little bit inside and didn’t want to be in there, but there’s nothing you can do – that’s the way the race played out,” Abreu said.

Abreu added that Moonage Daydream will likely be freshened and brought back for a sophomore campaign next year.

Moonage Daydream, who was bred in the Empire State by Larsen’s C3 Stable, is out of the Malibu Moon mare Elatha, making her a direct maternal descendent of Hall of Famer and 1946 Champion Handicap Mare Gallorette. She returned $30.60 for a $2 win ticket.

The Tony Dutrow-trained Redifined entered from a narrow runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Matron on October 8 at Belmont at the Big A where she was defeated a neck by American Apple. Lezcano, who piloted the daughter of More Than Ready for the first time, said Moonage Daydream was simply best.

“She broke good, but a little bit out,” said Lezcano. “After that, I got a good trip and she gave me what she got, but the other filly kept going. They were going a good pace – the winner is a nice filly.”

Live racing resumes Sunday at Aqueduct with a 10-race card featuring the $150,000 Tempted in Race 3 and the Grade 3 Nashua in Race 9. First post is 11:50 a.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 horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.

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