Kazmike graduates in style in NYSSS Times Square
by Keith McCalmont
Peter Kazamias’ homebred Kazmike staved off a determined Unique Unions to break his maiden in Saturday’s $200,000 Times Square division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, a 6 1/2-furlong main track sprint for eligible New York-sired sophomores, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Dimitrios Synnefias, the New York-bred son of Bank Heist entered from a pair of runner-up efforts sprinting six furlongs against fellow state-breds at the Big A, including a troubled trip last out on March 31.
Kazamias said he instructed jockey Trevor McCarthy to utilize Kazmike’s natural speed in a race that was expected to be dominated by 1-5 mutuel favorite Barese, a two-time stakes winner exiting a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 9 at the Big A.
“He lost a shoe last time, so we knew he was going to run big. I told him to go to the front. Speed is holding up today,” Kazamias said. “The two horse [Barese] is a closer but speed is holding, so we went to the lead. McCarthy gave him an excellent ride. I’m very proud of my horse. We knew when we entered that he was going to run big.”
Sent to post at odds of 9-1, Kazmike broke to the front from the outermost post 7 as Barese broke inward and a step slow from post 2, brushing briefly with Unique Unions to his inside. Kazmike marked the opening quarter-mile in 22.61 seconds over the fast main track under pressure from Mister Larry and Unique Unions, who quickly regained position after the break.
Dylan Davis hustled Barese into fourth position down the backstretch as Manny Franco angled Unique Unions off the rail and to the outside of Mister Larry with Kazmike leading through a half-mile in 46.38. Unique Unions loomed large through the turn as Barese tried in vain to catch up with a wide rally as Kazmike continued to lead the fray.
Unique Unions put a head in front at the stretch call, but Kazmike dug in gamely under McCarthy’s right-handed encouragement and persevered to the wire to notch the 1 1/4-length win in a final time of 1:18.70. It was a further 5 1/4-lengths back to Barese in third with Mo Dancin, Red D G P, Tommy Gun and Mister Larry rounding out the order of finish.
McCarthy said his mount responded well when asked.
“He’s kind of a bit of a grinder, so I just wanted to let him get into stride. I wanted to make sure I got his lead changed,” McCarthy said. “Last time, he didn’t want to switch and he’s one that really likes to run in the bridle. I just wanted to get a good hand ride – get a good rhythm before I went to sticking on him and he really gave me a second gear when I kind of switched sticks and he kind of moseyed on up.”
Trainer Rick Schosberg said he was pleased with the effort of stakes-placed Unique Unions, who was making his first appearance since finishing fourth in the Rego Park won by Barese on January 9 at Aqueduct.
“It was a good effort. We thought we were the inside speed, but we weren’t. It showed a new dimension for him,” Schosberg said. “He got to back off, tip out, make a run, and I think the distance is a little far for him. Maybe without the Lasix, that hurt him a little bit too. But he ran a great race. It was a long layoff and he ran hard. Manny rode him perfectly given the circumstances, and he never gave up.”
Davis said Barese was anxious in the gate.
“He broke in a touch and was getting a little fractious in there,” Davis said. “He had to stall the gate starter for a second because he wasn’t standing correctly and after that, he did jump in a little bit, but I was just trying to get some early position.
“I was happy with where I was at,” Davis continued. “I started getting into him early just like in the Rego Park, but he came up flat down the stretch today.”
Out of the stakes-placed Chimes Band mare Behrnik, Kazmike is a full sibling to multiple stakes winner Behrnik’s Bank. Bred in the Empire State by Kazamias' Kaz Hill Farm, Kazmike banked $110,000 in victory while improving his record to 3-1-2-0. He paid $20.80 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes Sunday, Closing Day of the Big A spring meet, with a nine-race card featuring the $200,000 NYSSS Park Avenue in Race 3 and the $100,000 Memories of Silver in Race 8. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the spring meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
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