VA-BRED MALEEH WINS AQUEDUCT STAKES

(NYRA Photo)

By Jon Forbes/NYRA

Lightly raced Maleeh ran like a seasoned professional in his second start, saving ground on the turn and angling off the rail to launch his stretch run en route to a 2 ¾-length win in Saturday’s $100,000 Fred “Cappy” Capossela, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Breaking from the rail, Maleeh raced behind a wall of opponents in fifth through an opening quarter-mile in 22.92 seconds as Whiskey Romeo and odds-on Clawback battled for early supremacy. Eddie Castro put Maleeh to a drive at the quarter pole, then took him outside Whiskey Romeo and Clawback with three-sixteenths to travel.

With clear running room, Maleeh shot past the leaders and ran away to a decisive score. Tenango, a 57-1 long shot, overcame a tardy start to nab second by a head from Clawback.

“I stuck behind the speed – third, fourth, close to the pace,” said Castro. “My horse drifted a little inside, I had to check. When he ran the first time, he did the same thing. In the stretch, I hit him left-handed and he came with a nice kick. He’s impressive, a really nice horse.”

Off as the 5-1 fourth choice, Maleeh paid $13.40 for a $2 win wager. He completed the distance in 1:10.43.

“I was a little worried about the rail [post], watching the races all day today,” said Art Magnuson, assistant to winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “He stepped it up. It was a tough race, and you don’t know until you try. We were in a very good spot. I was only worried about how much horse [Eddie Castro] had under him, but I liked where we were.”

Maleeh employed a similar running style in his only other start, stalking the pace and running down the pacesetter late to take a maiden special weight by a half-length on January 6 at Aqueduct.

Owned by Shadwell Stable, Maleeh is by Indian Charlie and out of top sprinter Gold Mover. The bay colt was bred in Virginia by Edward P. Evans.