Today’s Flavor an open-length winner of the NYSSS Thunder Rumble (Chelsea Durand)
By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Reddam Racing’s Today’s Flavor posted a tactical open-lengths score for trainer George Weaver in Sunday’s $125,000 Thunder Rumble division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, a seven-furlong main track test for eligible state-sired horses 3-years-old and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Today’s Flavor, a 5-year-old son of Laoban, earned his third stakes score this year after finishing a prominent seventh in the 6 1/2-furlong Hudson on October 29 when racing against fellow New York-breds on three weeks’ rest. The bay gelding adds to scores in the state-bred Affirmed Success in April and an off-the-turf running of the Belmont Turf Sprint in October against open company, both over a sloppy and sealed Big A main track. He now boasts an impressive 7-for-10 record when racing on the dirt at the Ozone Park oval.
Today’s Flavor was once again met with wet conditions in the Thunder Rumble and emerged from the outermost post 8 under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano sharpest of all to take command over Jemography and the rail-skimming Lobsta through an opening quarter-mile in 22.80 seconds over the sloppy and sealed going.
Midway down the backstretch, the Dylan Davis-piloted Be the Boss made a bold early move to successfully challenge Today’s Flavor for the lead and mark the half-mile in 45.92. The pair drew clear from a fading Jemography in the turn while a patient Castellano, who had guided Today’s Flavor down to the inside through the turn, called an audible and swung his mount wide for the stretch drive with plenty of horse to make up ground on the runaway Be the Boss.
Be the Boss came under strong urging at the eighth pole and clung to a precarious lead through three-quarters in 1:10.58 as Castellano needed only to shake the reins and show a right-handed crop for Today’s Flavor to retake control and draw off to post the decisive 3 1/2-length victory in a final time of 1:23.53.
General Banker came from well off the pace to nab place honors by three-quarter lengths over Be the Boss with Callaloo, Niagara Skyline, Barese, Jemography and Lobsta completing the order of finish. Vacation Dance was scratched.
Castellano, who has piloted Today’s Flavor in four starts and won three of them, said patience was key.
“In those type of tough situations, you have to control yourself,” said Castellano. “My horse break out of the gate and dictate the pace, but at some point I don’t want to be pinched inside. I think the horse would be intimidated a little bit. In those type of situations, you have to control yourself and be patient and confident in yourself to have the best result. He’s a good looking horse – great horse, great mind – you can do whatever you want.
“I tried to ride him like the best horse and that’s exactly what I did,” Castellano added. “I don’t want to duel [on the] speed, I just laid back a little bit and step him outside turning for home and let the horse find his stride and finish really strong.”
Blair Golen, Weaver’s Belmont Park-based assistant, praised the smart ride by Castellano.
“He’s a rideable horse. You didn’t want to go with Dylan [Davis], so it was the right choice just to wait and be out in the middle of the track,” said Golen. “It seemed like the last couple of races that’s where the winners were from.”
Bred in the Empire State by Joseph Calvo, Today’s Flavor banked $68,750 in victory to boost his total purse earnings to $545,080 through a lifetime record of 16-8-3-0. He returned $4.40 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes Thursday at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.