Saturday afternoon, he showed that business is booming.
The Stymie, however, wasn’t easily won. Off a bit slowly, Barrier Reef was taken to the inside by Dominguez, as Manteca and True Resurgence battled on the front end through splits of 23.30, 47.72 and 1:11.85.
Dominguez let the field go to secure position, but almost put himself in a jackpot when 30-1 longshot Barcola began to tire.
“It was a bad choice to stay toward the inside,” Dominguez said. “Originally, I wanted to go out and around the 8-horse (Real Merchant), but he was so far out. I got to the three-eighths pole behind Barcola, and my horse was moving up so fast, he clipped heels and everything -- bobbled some.”
Barrier Reef held that spot until pulling out of the turn, and as they neared the quarter-pole, Dominguez took him off the rail for the straight path to the wire. Barrier Reef, a 4-year-old Mizzen Mast colt has now won three in a row and is 5 for 6 on Aqueduct’s inner dirt track. He covered the nine-furlongs in 1:50.57 and paid $6.40 as the favorite of 3,920 on-track fans.
“I was very impressed with the fact that after he clipped heels, he came back running,” Dominguez said. “If he is that good on the inner track, he has to be good on the outer (main) track, too. Or any other track.”
Trainer Tom Albertrani said that Barrier Reef will likely come back in the Grade 3, $200,000 Excelsior at nine furlongs on Aqueduct’s main track on Wood Memorial Day, Saturday, April 4.
“I was happy he got away a little slow,” Albertrani said. “I was concerned when I saw him behind Barcola (No. 1), who was a dying horse at that point-- Ramon (Dominguez, jockey) said he almost clipped heels with him because Barrier Reef was moving up so fast. (Ramon) had a lot of horse at the end though and managed to get him out of trouble.”
Chilean-bred Real Merchant, True Resurgence, Manteca, Researcher, Barcola, Judiths Wild Rush and Brilliant Son completed the order of finish.