Beneath Manuel Franco, Expression broke midpack and sat a few lengths off for the half set by second betting choice Bridgehampton and Winning Image.
“Charlie told me try to rate good, and see what happens at the top of the stretch,” said Franco. “When I got her to the outside, she started running again.”
Entering the race, owner and trainer Charlton Baker was concerned with the off going, but the setup of the race proved to be key to the 5-year-old mare picking up her first win of 2014.
The Garland of Roses was also Expression’s first stakes victory and first win on an off track.
“I was definitely concerned about a wet track,” said Baker. “Her numbers have stayed the same [on a wet track], but she’s never seemed to run her race.”
Expression’s bankroll has now improved to $364,194.
Pleased with her performance, Baker was already looking forward to where she will be placed next.
“My tentative plan is to go to the Interborough [on January 17 at Aqueduct Racetrack],” he said.
Snowbell freezes out the competition in G3 Comely
Snowbell took an uncontested lead and went gate-to-wire in the Grade 3, $400,000 Comely Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Tom Albertrani, and part of a three-horse entry for Godolphin Racing, Snowbell went straight to the front under jockey Luis Saez.
On the final turn, with Shayjolie and Dame Dorothy taking aim, Snowbell opened up in the stretch to win by 2 ¼ lengths.
“I know she likes the front,” said Saez. “I took the lead, and waited to see what would happen. At the half-mile, I knew I still had a lot of horse, and when I asked her in the stretch, she came on very well.”
With three victories in eight starts for her career, and second straight following an 8 ½-length win in an optional claiming race on October 5 at Belmont Park, Snowbell increased her career earnings to $373,490.
“We were hopeful that we would be able to get the lead; just judging from the track it seemed like a good place to be - on the front end,” said Godolphin’s racing manager, Jimmy Bell. “She’s a filly that [has] obviously shown that she has that front-running speed, which is always dangerous. The fractions were kind and every step was a good step.”
Shayjolie was second, followed by Dame Dorothy, Penwith, Catchmydrift, Divided Attention, House Rules, and Flipcup.
The New York Racing Association last week announced the stakes schedule for the 2015 winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack, with 23 stakes worth more than $3 million as well as the inaugural running of the New York Claiming Championship Series scheduled for Saturday, March 21.
The winter meet, which runs through March 22, features five graded stakes, including a trio of important events around two turns for newly minted 3-year-olds: the Grade 2, $200,000 Jerome at one mile, 70 yards on January 3, the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday, February 7, and the Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham, also at 1 1/16 miles, on Saturday, March 7.
Rounding out the graded stakes are the Grade 3, $150,000 Toboggan on February 7 and the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap on March 7, both at six furlongs.