OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Dream Maker Racing’s Yo Cuz overcame an outward start to earn her second career stakes win in Monday’s $100,000 Maddie May, a one-mile test for New York-bred sophomore fillies.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the daughter of Laoban continued her good form after breaking her maiden last time out in the $500,000 NYSSS Fifth Avenue going seven furlongs at the Big A by 1 3/4-lengths under Jose Ortiz.
With Ortiz in the irons again, Yo Cuz broke outwardly from the outermost post six but quickly recovered and sprinted to the front, racing 1 1/2-lengths ahead of the Kendrick Carmouche-piloted Stone Creator through an opening quarter-mile in 23.41 seconds over the fast main track.
The Horacio De Paz-trained Moam began to fade from third position through the turn as Ortiz roused Yo Cuz for more with Stone Creator looming to her outside. Ortiz continued to give Yo Cuz a hand ride as Carmouche was all-out aboard Stone Creator turning for home with Thinking It Over making progress along the rail under Dylan Davis.
Yo Cuz was swung three-wide at the top of the stretch, digging in gamely to keep Stone Creator in her wake as Caragate made a late bid in the center of the racetrack under Eric Cancel. Yo Cuz improved her lead with a few taps of the crop from Ortiz, crossing the wire 3 1/4-lengths the best in a final time of 1:38.91.
Stone Creator kept to task well under Carmouche to finish second, 4 1/4 lengths ahead of Caragate in third. Reigning Chick, Thinking It Over, and Moam completed the order of finish. Captainsdaugher and Sandy’s Garden were scratched.
Ortiz, who made the trip from Florida to the Big A to ride Yo Cuz, said the bay filly shows plenty of promise.
“Bill asked me to come up and I said, ‘Sure.’ We won the $500,000 race last time, today it was just $100,000 but I really like her going forward,” said Ortiz. “She’s very good.”
Ortiz said Yo Cuz had enough speed to make the lead despite the poor break.
“Being on the outside sometimes they break a step out, but I corrected her nicely,” Ortiz said. “She has very good early speed and she put me where I wanted to be without using her. I thought the one [Stone Creator] would probably go, but I took the lead so easy and I think that’s why Kendrick let us have it. His filly is very nice but it was her first time going a mile and just her second race. She’s a nice filly, too.”
Leana Willaford, Mott’s New York-based assistant, said she trusted Jose’s judgement.
“I told Jose to just play the break,” Willaford said. “I thought the horse on the rail [Stone Creator] would show more speed, but nobody wanted it and Jose went ahead and made an executive decision.”
Carmouche said he was pleased with the runner-up effort from Stone Creator, who was making her first start against winners after a debut win on January 16 at the Big A for trainer Charlton Baker.
“The horse ran good. We chased the winner,” Carmouche said. “I tried to push the pace a little bit, but that didn’t help – that horse just kept running around the track. We were second best today.”
Tom Gallo, managing partner of Dream Maker Racing, said he was pleased to see Yo Cuz respond well to the one-turn mile.
“Off the last race, we were pretty optimistic. She was very impressive,” said Gallo. “This was sort of a test for her. There were horses with some legitimate form in here and she looks like she’s improving. At this time, that’s a great thing.”
Gallo said Yo Cuz may cut back in distance in her next outing, eyeing a start in the $200,000 NYSSS Park Avenue for eligible state-sired sophomore fillies sprinting 6 1/2-furlongs on April 24 at the Big A.
“I think what we’re aiming for is probably the New York Stallion Stakes Series on April 24, unless Bill looks at the tape and says something else,” Gallo said. “This was sort of a prep race for that. We’ll take it one step at a time. Hopefully, she eats up and is in good shape tomorrow.”
Bred in New York by Seidman Stables, Yo Cuz improved her record to 3-2-0-0 and banked $55,000 in victory, boosting her total career earnings to $332,800. The 4-5 post-time favorite, Yo Cuz returned $3.80 for a $2 win wager.
Live racing at Aqueduct resumes Thursday with an eight-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Press Release
Photo: Yo Cuz (NYRA Photo)