03/17/2012 5:33PM

Aqueduct: Marilyn's Guy holds on for Excelsior victory

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Marilyn's Guy, on the rail, holds off San Pablo to win the Excelsior.

OZONE PARK, N.Y.  - Tony Dutrow had some concern running Marilyn's Guy back four weeks after the horse returned from an 11-month layoff with a huge effort in his last start.

But Marilyn's Guy delivered another big effort Saturday at Aqueduct, opening up a sizeable advantage turning for home then holding on at the wire to take the Grade 3, $150,000 Excelsior Stakes by a neck over San Pablo at Aqueduct.

The win came four weeks after Marilyn's Guy won a thrilling stretch drive with San Pablo in the one-mile As Indicated Stakes. The Excelsior was run at 1 1/8 miles, a distance at which Marilyn's Guy had yet to win.

Dutrow said he was more concerned with running Marilyn's Guy back in four weeks than he was the distance. After tracking San Pablo for five furlongs, Marilyn's Guy, under C. C. Lopez, poked a head in front just before the three-furlong marker and appeared as though he was going to win for fun.

Still in front by 2 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole, Marilyn's Guy began to tire. Despite running a final eighth in 14.17 seconds, Marilyn's Guy held off San Pablo by a neck for his first graded stakes victory. It was 1 3/4 lengths back to Norman Asbjornson. Redding Colliery, Inherit the Gold and Birdrun completed the order of finish.

Marilyn's Guy, a son of Yonaguska, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.54 and returned $11.40 to win.

"When I got to the three-eighths pole I had already put him away and from there he just held on and fought to the very, very end," Lopez said. "He saw that horse coming and he just dug down and got his big old neck out there and got the job done."

Dutrow watched the race on his iPad upon arrival at Philadelphia International Airport from south Florida. He thought his horse was going to win easily, before getting worried in the stretch.

"I was impressed once again, and you're right, at the quarter pole it looked like our horse was full of run," Dutrow said. "I was watching the jockeys on the other horses seemingly in a desperate situation and then not quite an eighth of a mile later I was in a desperate situation."
Owners Michael Dubb and Michael Caruso's Bethlehem Stables claimed Marilyn's Guy for $50,000 last March and had to give him 11 months off because of a physical ailment. The horse has rewarded their patience with two stakes victories.

"The horse responded well to our barn. He's happy and is running good, but Mike Dubb, he's the one who chose to give this horse so much time," Dutrow said. "I have to give Mike credit for his horsemanship involved here."

Dutrow said he would most likely give Marilyn's Guy a mini-vacation.

Deferred Risk becomes 18th fatality

Deferred Risk, who drew into a New York-bred maiden $25,000 claiming race off the also-eligible list to make her debut Saturday, suffered a condylar fracture to her right foreleg and was euthanized.

Thus, she became the 18th fatality to have occurred over Aqueduct's inner track since the meet opened Nov. 30. She is the seventh fatality in the last 12 racing days.

Jockey Ryan Curatolo, who was aboard Deferred Risk, fell on his head and was removed from the track on a stretcher and taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he was found to have a strained back. He was expected to be released Sunday night, according to agent Bob Klesaris.

Klesaris said Curatolo would not ride Sunday, but he is hopeful he could return Wednesday.