Lobsta, My Boy Tate renew rivalry in $100K Say Florida Sandy
by Ryan Martin
Lobsta and My Boy Tate, the respective one-two finishers last out in the NYSSS Thunder Rumble, will square off once more in Saturday’s fifth running of the $100,000 Say Florida Sandy for New York-breds 4-years-old and up going seven furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Both Lobsta and My Boy Tate will carry 124 pounds Saturday, six more pounds than each of their four rivals in the six-horse Say Florida Sandy field.
Last out, in the seven-furlong NYSSS Thunder Rumble on December 5 at the Big A, the Gary Sciacca-trained Lobsta, carrying 118 pounds, took command from Post 10 and battled with stablemate and full-brother Chowda to his inside.
My Boy Tate, assigned a co-field high 124 pounds, raced along the rail down the backstretch and launched a menacing bid in upper stretch briefly capturing command. But Lobsta responded to Hall of Famer Javier Castellano’s right-handed encouragement, getting the better of his foe by a half-length.
Owned by Eddie Fazzone’s Eddie F’s Racing, Lobsta earned three stakes placings prior to his last out victory, which came off a nearly five-month layoff.
Following a successful sophomore debut last January at a flat mile, the 4-year-old son of Emcee was a distant second to Nicky the Vest in the Gander before completing the trifecta in the Mike Lee at Belmont Park and the New York Derby at Finger Lakes.
“I thought Chowda was going to get the lead, but Lobsta dragged Castellano to the front. I couldn’t believe it,” Sciacca recalled. “I was surprised Lobsta broke like he did off a layoff and come out of there like a rocket. Both runners have a lot of fight in them.”
Sciacca said his friendship with Fazzone dates back over three decades.
“He’s a good friend that I’ve known for over 30 years,” Sciacca said. “We just became good friends along the years. Nobody loves racing more than him. He’s a loyal, great guy. More owners like him would make the game easier.”
Bred in the Empire State by Fedwell Farm, Lobsta sports a consistent ledger of 8-3-1-2 with earnings of $221,400.
Castellano will pilot Lobsta once more from post 4.
My Boy Tate will seek a second non-consecutive win in the Say Florida Sandy, capturing the event in 2018. Trained, bred and co-owned by Michelle Nevin in partnership with Little Red Feather Racing, the 8-year-old son of Boys At Tosconova arrives as the most accomplished horse in the field with six stakes victories and a field-best $717,788 in earnings.
With 5-of-6 stakes wins taking place at Aqueduct, including dual victories in the Hollie Hughes [2018 and 2021], My Boy Tate will attempt an eighth career win over the Big A oval. He currently boasts a record of 14-7-3-1 when competing at Aqueduct.
Nevin, who has captured three of the four runnings of the Say Florida Sandy saddling Honor Up  and Our Last Buck  to respective victories, said My Boy Tate produced a game effort last out.
“He went out and ran his race. He didn’t do anything wrong and he was giving it his best,” Nevin said. “Hopefully, this time he has a better day and gets the best of them. He’s a determined horse. He’s definitely a fun horse to have around.”
Eric Cancel, who rode My Boy Tate to victory in last year’s Haynesfield, will return to the irons from post 5.
Seeking his first stakes coup since the 2020 Albany at Saratoga is Chestertown, a royally-bred son of Tapit out of Grade 1-winner Artemis Agrotera, for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Chestertown, owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Chester and Mary Broman, Woodford Racing, Siena Farms and Robert Masiello, kicked off his 2021 campaign with a four-length victory in a nine-furlong allowance at Aqueduct. In his lone stakes start last season, he was a distant second in the Hudson on October 30 over a sloppy and sealed Belmont Park main track.
Returning pilot Jose Lezcano will ride from post 2.
Completing the field are Alpha Chi Rho [post 1, Jose Ortiz] – who arrives off two straight wins; graded-stakes placed Battle Station [post 3, Kendrick Carmouche], and five-time winner Saratoga Pal [post 6, Trevor McCarthy].
The Say Florida Sandy honors the late multiple graded stakes winner whose lengthy career saw 98 starts and spanned from 1996-2003. Say Florida Sandy earned New York-bred championship honors multiple times, including three New York champion sprinter titles and New York Horse of the Year honors in 2001-02. Following a 10-year career at stud, Say Florida Sandy was pensioned and retired to Old Friends in 2014.
The Say Florida Sandy is carded as Race 8 on Saturday’s nine-race card at the Big A. First post is 12:20 p.m.
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