OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Nefertini prevailed at 9-1 in the Grade 2, $200,000 Go for Wand Handicap on Friday at Aqueduct Racetrack, helping set up a $109,248 Pick 6 carryover into Saturday’s Heineken Holidayfest card, which includes the Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile Handicap and three other graded stakes.
Willet offered her challenge with three-sixteenths to travel, but Nefertini refused to yield during a lengthy stretch battle, holding on to win by a neck.
“I was very close to the speed,” said winning jockey Alan Garcia. “[Trainer Alan Goldberg] said to put her right in the game. [Willet] came to me, and [Nefertini] was fighting and didn’t want to get beat.”
The final time for one mile was 1:35.80. Nefertini paid $20 for a $2 win wager.
Nefertini, a 4-year-old daughter of Empire Maker, won the Monmouth Beach in May, then was fourth in Monmouth Park’s Grade 2 Molly Pitcher on July 29. Following a layoff, she returned to finish third in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Handicap on October 27 at Belmont Park, her final start prior to the Go for Wand.
Trained by Goldberg for Robert E. Masterson, Nefertini is 5-2-1 in 10 career starts. The Go for Wand victory, worth $120,000, lifted her career earnings to $316,320.
Hard Life was third, followed home by R Gypsy Gold and Fantasy of Flight.
The Cigar Mile, in which Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Groupie Doll will take on six males, is the fourth leg of Saturday’s Pick 6 sequence. The sequence also includes the Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle (second leg), Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen (third leg), and Grade 1, $350,000 Gazelle (fifth leg).
The Pick 6 begins with race 5, which has a scheduled post time of 1:53 p.m.
Those who wish to play the Pick 6 can place their bets at Aqueduct or the Belmont Café, or through NYRA Rewards, which offers Internet, On-Track, Phone, and Mobile wagering.