Trainer Todd Beattie had always thought Fabulous Strike was capable of rating behind horses. But having consistently drawn inside, the five-year-old son of Smart Strike just never got the opportunity and scored most of his victories on the lead .
On a foggy Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack, Fabulous Strike finally got the chance to show a new dimension. Taken back by jockey Ramon Dominguez as True Quality shot to the front in the Grade 3, $103,100 Gravesend Handicap, Fabulous Strike rallied through the stretch and went on to a 1¾-length victory in the six-furlong race, the final graded stakes of the year in New York.
With the scratches of Cavallo Pazzo, Grand Champion, Night Stand and Songster reducing the field to four, jockey C.C. Lopez gunned the three-year-old True Quality to the lead, zipping through fractions of 22.28 and 45.24 over a good inner track. But straightening for home, Dominguez roused Fabulous Strike and he responded with a determined run that carried him past the front-runner and to the wire in 1:09.74.
“I was just as happy with him having something to run at as I was with him on the lead,” said Dominguez. “He’s a push-button kind of horse.”
Good Card was another 3½ lengths back, with Lucky Island fourth.
The odds-on favorite, Fabulous Strike returned $3.10 for a $2 win bet as he wrapped up his 2008 campaign, having won three of his five starts with one second. The victory, his 12th in 19 lifetime starts, was worth $64,860 and boosted his bankroll to $939,412 for owner Walter Downey.
Although there are several races in the Northeast for Fabulous Strike over the next two months, Beattie said he would like to bring the gelding to Dubai for the $2 million Golden Shaheen on March 28, 2009.
“We’ll go back to Penn National and make a decision in four or five days,” he said. “I would like to go to Dubai with him. We’ll see if this is enough to get him there.”
GRAVESEND HANDICAP QUOTES
Winning trainer Todd Beattie of Fabulous Strike (No. 2): “I thought rating was always a possibility with him. Today I just let Ramon make the decision. He didn’t have a smooth training schedule in between his last race and today. I moved him from Penn National to my brother-in-law’s barn at Laurel (because of the track condition). He actually lost some training, which hurt him.
“We’ll go back to Penn National and make a decision in four or five days. I would like to go to Dubai ($2 million Golden Shaheen, six furlongs, March 28) with him. We’ll see if this is enough to get him there.”
Winning jockey Ramon Dominguez: “I was planning on going to the lead, especially with the inside post. But the horse that C.C. (Lopez) was on (True Quality) was very quick out of the gate and after a few jumps I took hold. Down the lane, he finished up nice. He’s a push-button kind of horse.”