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Chili Flag, Spirit Prince Notch Aqueduct Feature Stakes

A French-bred daughter of Cityscape , Chili Flag had joined the barn of New York turf giant Chad Brown but had mainly been coasting under the radar in her stable’s ranks before Sunday’s stakes win. Sent to post as the third betting choice with the red-hot Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, Chili Flag saved ground in third behind opening fractions of :24.88, :48.63, and 1:11.72 before rallying past her rivals at the eighth pole. She hit the wire in a sharp 1:41.27 for the 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course.

Tass , who had narrowly gotten the better of Chili Flag in their last outing, settled for second in a blanket finish that saw Uncorked  a nose behind in third, a head better than Willakia . Favored Regal Realm  was another half-length behind in fifth.

A claim of foul against Ortiz for interference in the stretch from jockey Jorge Ruiz aboard Willakia was disallowed. When the field turned for home and Ortiz angled Chili Flag off the rail, he had briefly impeded the run of Willakia.

The Forever Together was the fourth win of the day for Ortiz, who had bagged five wins on Aqueduct’s Saturday card the day prior.

“It’s amazing, a great feeling, a special day for us. It’s hard to win one, so to win that many, you’ve got to enjoy it,” Ortiz said. “Thank God and everyone for the support.”

Four-year-old Chili Flag ($10.60) races for the partnership of Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, and Michael Kisber. She was purchased last October for $137,217 at Arqana Saint-Cloud.

After four in-the-money finishes, including three in stakes company, Spirit Prince  broke through with his first career win in the $120,000 Central Park Stakes for 2-year-olds going a mile on the turf.

The son of Cairo Prince   had a few dicey moments through the first half of the race while in tight between rivals, but jockey Joel Rosario was able to navigate the colt through traffic and find daylight when it counted turning for home. Spirit Prince surged three-wide down the lane and put away his foes for a 1 1/2-length score. Despite lugging in a little bit late, the colt powered to the wire, stopping the clock in 1:37.69 for the mile over a turf course rated as “firm.”

Last-out maiden winner Walley World  and Typhoon Fury  completed the trifecta.

Spirit Prince ($7.60) runs for the partnership of Oakwood Stables (Daniel J. Burke), Scott Krase, Donarra Thoroughbreds, and Ken Beitz. He has earned $153,000 from his five starts to date.


“The first part of the race was very rough, but then we had a dream trip in third on the rail, saving ground, and looked very well going into the last turn.

“I found him as a yearling and he was reasonably priced. He’s been very consistent. Just the fact that he’s been able to run five times—for a 2-year-old on the grass, that’s an achievement in New York.” -Trainer Christophe Clement on Spirit Prince

Source : Blood Horse