By Brian Bohl —-
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Phipps Stable’s Fire Away overtook Monster Bea in the stretch and outkicked his rival by a length to post his first win in more than a year, capturing the $150,000 Artie Schiller for 3-year-olds and up Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Fire Away stayed off 80-1 shot Marengo Road’s early fractions of 23.69 seconds for a quarter-mile and 47.46 for a half on the inner turf.
Fire Away rallied from seventh in the 10-horse field with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez urging him out of the final turn. The 5-year-old took the lead in the final sixteenth and completed one mile in 1:35.32.
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Fire Away won his first career stakes and posted his first overall victory since an allowance win on November 16, 2016 at the Big A.
“He had won here off of a layoff and after last year, we thought he was a horse that wanted to run really long but every time we got going with him, we had to ease up and we just never got into a good rhythm with him,” said Robbie Medina, assistant to McGaughey. “But since Saratoga, we haven’t had to miss anything with him. After he ran his last race at Belmont going long, Shug just said, ‘Let’s cut him back and make him finish.'”
Off at 4-1, Fire Away paid $10.60 on a $2 win wager. The son of War Front improved to 3-for-3 all-time at Aqueduct and increased his career bankroll to $373,397.
“He’s a little bit better suited for running around turns here than maybe at Belmont,” Medina said. “Plus, he’s one of the rare War Fronts that likes a little give in the turf. He likes a little give and he can run far.”
Added Velazquez: “The grass is a little softer on this turf course and I think he likes that. There some give [to] the ground and he responded well to it. Shug and I talked about the distance before the race. He ran at a mile and three-eighths at Saratoga where he finished third and so they cut him back in his next start and he hung a little bit. At Belmont, he ran at a mile and sometimes horses need one race to get back into things, and today he responded kicking away at the end.”
Monster Bea, trained by Mark Casse, fended off Hollywood Hideaway by 1 ½ lengths for second, marking his best performance in a stakes since winning the 2016 Oceanside at Del Mar.
Hollywood Hideaway, coming off back-to-back Grade 2 starts, placed in a stakes for the first time since the 20016 Woodstock at Woodbine for trainer Barbara Minshall.
Blacktype, the 7-5 favorite, Tizzarunner, Night Prowler, Marengo Road, A Lot, Wolf Rock and Converge completed the order of finish.