Sixtythreecaliber. Photo by Susie Raisher
By Mary Eddy
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – My Racehorse Stable and Spendthrift Farm’s Sixtythreecaliber fended off a strong late rally from post-time favorite Kathleen O. to score the first graded win of her career in Friday’s Grade 3, $175,000 Comely for sophomore fillies traveling nine furlongs over the main track at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Tom Amoss, Sixtythreecaliber extended her win streak to three-in-a-row after a last-out victory in the Seneca Overnight on September 24 at Churchill Downs and an optional claiming score in August at Horseshoe Indianapolis with Edgar Morales in the irons. It was her second attempt at a graded victory, her other effort a distant fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks in July.
“She’s a filly that has really improved from her first start to now and I’m fortunate enough to work for the My Racehorse group that gave me the time to work with her and never pressured me into when I was going to run,” Amoss said. “Her races are fairly spread out. She’s a horse that has started – with all due respect to the other racetracks – in more minor league types of races, speaking comparatively to the New York racing circuit. But she is certainly no minor league horse. She used those races to build confidence and it showed up today.”
With Kendrick Carmouche up for the first time, Sixtythreecaliber broke from post 2 and settled in second behind Tizzy in the Sky, who stumbled slightly from the outermost post 8 and rushed up to lead the field to the first turn through an opening quarter-mile in 24.63 seconds over the fast main track.
Positions remained unchanged down the backstretch as Tizzy in the Sky completed the half-mile in 49.94, but the dynamics soon changed as Carmouche roused his mount for more and went on even terms with the pacesetter as the pair rounded the turn. Kathleen O., last-of-7 under a patient ride from Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, made steady progression into the turn and by the stretch call, was within striking range of her two rivals up front.
Sixtythreecaliber took a clear advantage into the stretch and soundly put away a tiring Tizzy in the Sky but was quickly challenged by a closing Kathleen O. down the center of the racetrack. With strong encouragement from Carmouche, Sixtythreecaliber gamely fended off her determined foe to secure the half-length victory in a final time of 1:53.89.
The late-running Morning Matcha held onto show honors by a neck over Falconet, with Tizzy in the Sky, Skratch Kat and Nostalgic rounding out the order of finish. Pistol Liz Ablazen was scratched.
Carmouche said he was able to establish his position when Tizzy and the Sky and Falconet did not show their usual speed.
“I had a perfect trip. I just wanted to make sure I used my inside post good,” said Carmouche. “I didn’t see both speed horses outside break good outside and once the one cleared [Tizzy in the Sky] me, I just put her in the clear because that’s the way she’s run all the races when she won. I didn’t want to take that away from her.
“Going down the backside at the half-mile, I reached and grabbed her and she jumped on the bit,” Carmouche added. “I looked underneath my arms and knew I had to wait a little bit longer and then I pulled the trigger because nine times out of ten on this track, as deep as it is, it takes a lot of strides for a horse to catch up with you. At the sixteenth pole, she kind of waited and then as soon as she saw that horse [Kathleen O.] she pinned her ears and went right back at it again.”
Bred in Kentucky by Lee Pokoik, Sixtythreecaliber was a $250,000 purchase at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The bay daughter of Gun Runner became the 10th graded stakes winner for her red-hot sire and banked $96,250 while improving her record to 7-5-0-0. She returned $24.40 for a $2 win wager.
Amoss said a next start is still to be determined for Sixtythreecaliber.
“I really haven’t thought beyond this race. She’s now a graded stakes winner which speaks to her value off the racetrack,” said Amoss. “She’s got to be by one of the hottest sires of our time in Gun Runner. The My Racehorse management crew and I will get together and go from there. She will leave New York and go back to Kentucky in the next couple of days. She’ll come to Fair Grounds and that’s where she’ll train. Where we go after that will be decided by what races come up after January 1.”
Castellano praised the effort from the multiple graded stakes-winning Kathleen O., who made her first start off a six-month layoff after finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.
“She did really well but it seemed to me the two horses that had speed outside didn’t go,” said Castellano. “The pace was very slow in 49 and change and 1:15. For those type of horses, they’re walking nearly every single step of the way. My horse is a come-from-behind horse and you can tell the way she did it today, she responded so well.
“I’m satisfied how she did it and I’m happy she came back in good order,” Castellano continued. “I think this is the first step back for her. Unfortunately, the way the race developed today, it was hard for horses to come from behind but still, she almost did. With a little more pace, we’d be right there. Most importantly, she came back good and I’m looking forward to the long term.”
Live racing resumes Saturday at Aqueduct with a 10-race card highlighted by the $120,000 Central Park in Race 5, the Grade 3, $175,000 Fall Highweight in Race 8 and the Grade 2, $300,000 Red Smith in Race 9. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.