11/23/2012 6:08PM

Aqueduct: Nefertini digs in to win in Go for Wand

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Nefertini, right, with Alan Garcia riding, holds off Willet to win the Go for Wand.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - A determined Nefertini fended off a stretch challenge from Willet to win Friday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Go for Wand Handicap by a neck at Aqueduct.

Fantasy of Flight, the 3-5 favorite, finished last after setting the pace.

The win was the fifth from 10 career starts for Nefertini, a 4-year-old daughter of Empire Maker owned by Robert Masterson and trained by Alan Goldberg.

In two previous graded stakes tries, Nefertini finished fourth in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth and third in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm at Belmont.

According to jockey Alan Garcia, Nefertini was skittish in the gate before the start of the Turnback the Alarm which caused her to stumble and be further back than planned.

In the Go for Wand, Nefertini was “more calm, more relaxed,” according to Garcia, and broke in good order.

Nefertini was within a length of Fantasy of Flight through a quarter-mile in 23.99 seconds and a half-mile in 46.92. She dragged Garcia to the front at the five-sixteenths pole and then had enough to withstand a late run from Willet to get the win. Willet was second by 1 1/4 lengths over Hard Life. R Gypsy Gold was fourth.

Nefertini covered the mile in 1:35.80 and returned $20 to win.

“She broke good, she was right in the game from the start. That’s where I wanted to be,” Garcia said. “Turning for home she was running pretty hard. When the other horse came beside her she didn’t want to get beat, she wanted to keep fighting.”

Conversely, Ramon Dominguez said that when Nefertini came alongside Fantasy of Flight, she offered no resistance.

“She was going great, she was very comfortable I was very happy,” Dominguez said. “Got to the top of the lane and she didn’t put up a whole lot of fight today.”

** Earlier on the card, Notacatbutallama ($2.90) found room at the three-sixteenths pole under John Velazquez then powered home a 3 1/2-length winner of the $80,000 Super Mario Stakes for juvenile colts.

James Jingle, a 22-1 longshot, got up for second by a neck over Sunlover.

Notacatbutallama, a New York-bred son of Harlan’s Holiday won for the third time in six starts for owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher.

He covered the 1 1/16 miles over firm turf in 1:44.31 and returned $2.90 to win.