OZONE PARK, N.Y. – My Boy Tate, perfectly piloted by Manny Franco, saved ground before tipping out and rallying for a 1 1/4-length score in Monday’s $100,000 Hollie Hughes, a six-furlong sprint for state-breds 4-years-old and up at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained, bred and co-owned by Michelle Nevin with Little Red Feather Racing, the 7-year-old son of Boys At Tosconova was making his third Hollie Hughes appearance, which included a win in 2018 and a runner-up effort last year to returning foe Amundson.
Tribecca, the 7-5 mutuel favorite, was hustled out of the inside post by Trevor McCarthy to take command in the compact four-horse field but Amundson, off a step slow under Jorge Vargas, Jr. from the outside post, was quickly asked to engage and marked the opening quarter-mile in 22.98 seconds on the main track rated fast.
Tribecca got the better of a pace battle that resulted in a 46.71 half-mile with My Boy Tate content to save ground inside of Big Ticket. The field traveled two-by-two into the turn with just two lengths covering the field at the quarter pole as Tribecca put away Amundson and prepared for a test from the rallying Big Ticket, who was looking to get the jump on My Boy Tate.
But it was My Boy Tate, angled off the rail and outside rivals, who was full of run late to secure a comfortable score in a final time of 1:10.85. Big Engine earned place by three-quarters of a length over Tribecca. Amundson completed the order of finish. The Nevin-trained Our Last Buck was scratched.
Nevin was full of praise for My Boy Tate, who also owns stakes triumphs in the 2018 Say Florida Sandy and the 2019 NYSSS Thunder Rumble.
“It’s great to see him run,” said Nevin. “He’s been a fun horse since he was a baby. He keeps showing up for me and keeps trying.”
My Boy Tate entered the Hollie Hughes from a disappointing fourth of five in the Say Florida Sandy on January 9 at the Big A.
“I was mad at myself last month, but the temptation of coming back against a small field made me come back too quick,” said Nevin. “The scenario of the race looked like it was void of speed and he has speed. But as he has gotten older, he’s changed his ways. He’s happier to let them go a little bit, settle in, and then come with a run.
“It was the perfect setup,” added Nevin. “Manny did the right thing. He sat chilly and let them come back to him.”
It was the third stakes win of the Big A winter meet for Franco, who captured the Rego Park with Perfect Munnings and the Busanda with The Grass Is Blue last month.
“I had the perfect pace scenario in front of me,” said Franco, who was aboard for My Boy Tate’s Thunder Rumble score. “I just took my time with him. I’ve been riding him and I’m usually close to the pace, but today, with a short field, I just let them go to the front and the move worked out because they came back to me. It settled perfect and we got it done.”
Bred in the Empire State by Nevin, My Boy Tate banked $55,000 in victory while improving his record to 22-8-5-2. He returned $6 for a $2 win wager.
Hollie Hughes Replay
Live racing will continue Thursday at Aqueduct with an eight-race card. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.
Photo: My Boy Tate (Susie Raisher) NYRA Photo, Coglianese Photos