Repo Rocks and jockey Andrew Wolfsont well clear in the Toboggan (Chelsea Durand)
By Keith McCalmont – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Double B Racing Stables’ Repo Rocks, expertly handled by Andrew Wolfsont, drew off to an 8 1/2-length score to make the grade in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Toboggan, a seven-furlong sprint for older horses, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The 5-year-old Tapiture gelding is now a perfect 3-for-3 for trainer Jamie Ness, entering from a pair of stakes wins under Wolfsont at Parx, taking the Let’s Give Thanks in November and the Blitzen last out on January 4 over a sloppy and sealed main track.
“I knew it was a tough race, so I was extremely happy,” said Stephen Fox, managing partner of Double B Racing Stables. “I knew if he came out with his best, he would have more than a shot. It’s three in-a-row now, all with Andrew on him. So, I’m very excited about him. I’m very, very happy to win a graded stakes and that I was here for it.”
Pirate Rick, racing on short rest from a sharp optional-claiming win here on Sunday, set the Toboggan tempo, marking the opening quarter-mile in 22.86 seconds over the fast main track with stakes-winner Little Vic tracking from second position and Repo Rocks saving ground in third.
Pirate Rick reached the half-mile in 45.76 as Little Vic loomed large to his outside and Wolfsont angled Repo Rocks off the rail late in the turn to launch a three-wide bid. Repo Rock, full of run, opened up by four lengths at the stretch call and surged clear of his rivals to stop the clock in 1:23.42 with Little Vic completing the exacta by 1 1/4-lengths over the late-running multiple graded-stakes winner Drafted.
Pirate Rick, Three Two Zone, Synthesis and Milton the Monster rounded out the order of finish. Double Crown, who is cross-entered Monday at Parx; and Wendell Fong, who is cross-entered Sunday at Laurel Park and Tuesday at Parx, were scratched.
The victory marked the first graded win for Wolfsont, who said the race set up perfectly for Repo Rocks.
“I knew the two pacesetters would be up front and I thought maybe one other would be there,” Wolfsont said. “I was hoping I would only be laying a couple lengths off like I was, so I was feeling very confident on the backside and in the turn. Once I saw the outside speed horse [Little Vic] making his move, I just said, ‘I’ve got a lot of speed it looks like – it’s time to angle him out and ask him.’ As soon as I showed him daylight, he just took off. I felt like I moved too soon, but he just had so much horse and he finished well.”
Wolfsont boasts a 6-4-1-0 record aboard Repo Rocks, including a sharp optional-claiming score in April at Belmont Park.
“When I won on him at Belmont, he stumbled and then I got into him,” Wolfsont said. “I think since Jamie Ness has had him – this start and last start – he’s been sharp out of the gate and that’s helped. He’s obviously finished strong as well.”
Repo Rocks picked up his first graded placings last year at the Big A for trainer Juan Vazquez with a runner-up effort to Drafted in this event ahead of a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap in March. The consistent sprinter moved to the barn of Gregory DiPrima and added a third-place finish in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud to his ledger in July at Belmont. He joined the Ness barn following an off-the-board effort in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler in October at Belmont at the Big A.
Little Vic, piloted by Carlos Olivero for trainer Juan Avila, captured the City of Laurel in November at Laurel Park and entered from a runner-up effort in the Gravesend here on December 30 when defeated a nose by Drafted.
“It was a fast pace, but my horse was running,” Olivero said. “He [Repo Rocks] just ran too fast for us.”
Bred in Virginia by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, III, Repo Rocks banked $82,500 in victory while improving his record to 32-7-6-6. He returned $22.40 for a $2 win bet.
Live racing resumes Sunday at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.