The 5-year-old gelding Share the Ride has improved by leaps and bounds since being claimed by trainer Antonio Arriaga in July. Never was this more apparent than on Sunday at Aqueduct, when the son of Candy Ride secured a signature victory in the $100,000 Fall Highweight H. (G3).
Running back just 11 days after dominating an allowance event at Parx Racing, Share the Ride was favored at 8-5 even while toting co-top weight of 133 pounds. A quick break gave Share the Ride an opportunity to vie for the lead, but jockey Jose Ortiz elected to take a patient approach, settling Share the Ride just behind pacesetter Tribecca as the latter sprinted the opening quarter-mile in :23.03.
Share the Ride advanced to challenge through a half-mile in :46.14, and while Tribecca was stubborn down the stretch, Share the Ride always seemed to hold a slim advantage. In front by a head at the eighth pole, Share the Ride forged away late to win the 6-furlong sprint by three-quarters of a length in 1:10.62.
Stan the Man rallied to edge Absentee and Tribecca in a three-horse photo for the minor awards, while Drafted, Arch Cat, and Majestic Dunhill trailed the field.
“Everybody had a little extra weight today, but my horse was very game,” Ortiz told the New York Racing Association. “It was a great training job. This horse was 100 percent ready. He broke well and sat second and relaxed. I asked him to go passing the three-eighths pole to engage Tribecca. I wanted to be close to him at the quarter-pole because he’s hard to beat on the lead and he digs in. I was in good range to win the race and they battled down the lane; two good horses in a match race and then the other horses were coming too, at the end, but he dug in.”
Owned by Silvino Ramirez, Share the Ride has been on a steady ascent during the second half of 2020, with a victory in the Mr. Prospector S. and placed efforts in the Vosburgh (G2) and Bold Ruler (G3) enhancing his resume. After packing nine starts into a five-month span, the durable gelding appears poised for continued success during the winter.
Earlier in the afternoon, Lead Guitar reaffirmed her status as a turf sprinter on the rise with an easy victory in the $100,000 Autumn Days S. Favored at 5-4 while dashing 6 furlongs over the outer turf course, Lead Guitar was always prominent under jockey Jose Lezcano, tracking splits of :23.33 and :47.08 over good going. When asked to accelerate down the lane, Lead Guitar responded readily, taking command from pacesetter Risky Mischief to win for fun in 1:10.87.
“She’s a very nice filly; the kind you can do whatever you want with,” said Lezcano. “It was my first time riding her and she broke well. She put me right in the race and when I asked her to go on, she went on and won the race.”
Lead Guitar reached the finish line 3 1/4 lengths clear of A Great Time, who rallied to edge Risky Mischief by a head for the runner-up spot. Madeleine Must, Ode to Joy, I’llhandalthecash, Saratoga Treasure, Mentality, My Sassy Sarah, and Dendrobia completed the order of finish, but no one was ever going to catch Lead Guitar, who posted her fourth straight win for trainer George Weaver and owners Jim and Susan Hill. Previously victorious in the Floral Park S. at Belmont, Lead Guitar has now won six of her 11 runs while showing no signs of slowing down.
The Sunday stakes action concluded with the $100,000 Tepin S., in which the exciting Godolphin homebred 2-year-old Lovestruck delivered a sharp victory as the 11-10 favorite. Freshened since winning her debut on Sept. 7 at Saratoga, the daughter of Tapit saved ground throughout while tracking slow fractions of :24.05, :50.50, and 1:16.21, then shifted out under jockey Junior Alvarado to rally and win the 1 1/16-mile turf test by a length in 1:47.14.
The run down the homestretch did not unfold without incident, as Lovestruck was forced wide by a drifting rival at the top of the lane, causing a chain reaction of bumping that led to a stewards’ inquiry. Lovestruck also drifted toward the rail after taking command, but in the end, the results were allowed to stand.
“She’s been ready for quite a while,” Alvarado said. “We were expecting the kind of run from her that we saw today. There’s still room for her to improve. She’s still a little bit green and when she got to the lead she was wandering around the track, which is fine. When she puts it all together, we’ll get a little more from her.”
Invincible Gal charged up the rail to secure the runner-up spot over pacesetter Big Time Lady, followed by Island Treasure, Fifth Risk, Bravo Regina, and Lexinator. Thursday was pulled up with an injury early on and vanned off following the race.
Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, Lovestruck is a half-sister to stakes winners Antipathy, Grand Daddy, and Scat Daddy, with the latter renowned as the sire of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. With her 2-for-2 record and strong turn of foot, Lovestruck heads into winter as one of the most exciting young turf fillies in training. A graded stakes win—even a Grade 1 triumph—could well be in her future.