02/11/2012 5:19PM

Aqueduct: Pretension turns tables with Sweet Envoy victory

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Pretension, with Javier Santiago riding, wins the Sweet Envoy.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The last time Pretension shipped to New York from Maryland, he suffered a narrow loss to Swag Daddy in the Damon Runyon Stakes at Aqueduct.

Saturday, two months after that loss, Pretension earned a modicum of revenge, taking the lead in midstretch from Sportswriter and holding off a late challenge from 3-4 favorite Swag Daddy to take the $75,000 Sweet Envoy Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths over Aqueduct's inner track. Swag Daddy got past Sportswriter to get second by one-half length.

The win was the second from five career starts for Pretension, a son of Bluegrass Cat owned by Kidwells Petite Stable and trained by the Bowie-based Christopher Grove.

Grove said he thought Pretension was going to win the Damon Runyon, but noted that his horse had to work too hard to put away the other speed in the race, and couldn't hold off Swag Daddy in the final strides.

"He's matured a lot since the, and that might have really helped as well," Grove said.
Following the Damon Runyon, Pretension finished second to a loose-on-the-lead Hakama in a first-level allowance race at Laurel.

In the Sweet Envoy, jockey Javier Santiago had Pretension three wide around the first turn, and was stalking Summer Breezing, who was being chased by Sportswriter.

Pretension made a three-wide move around the far turn, hooked up with Sportswriter in upper stretch, and gradually pulled away from that one in the stretch. Pretension covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:43.87 and returned $9.60 to win.

"I couldn't have been happier, it was exactly what Javier and I talked about - just sit right off of them," Grove said. "I thought he might actually show a little more speed. It was a good ride."

A Triple Crown nominee, Pretension will likely return to New York for the Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham on March 3, Grove said.

"The Gotham is on the calendar even though it's in three weeks," Grove said.  "We'll see how he comes out of it."

When told that Hansen, last year's 2-year-old champion was announced Saturday as a Gotham starter, Grove paused, and said. "Well, [Pretensions] does like the track. At this point, we're trying to get some graded money as well. At this point, you have to tackle the tough ones."

Eric Fein, the owner of Swag Daddy, was hoping his horse would run a big race and earn a shot in an open-company stakes race somewhere. After the loss, Fein said, "This changes everything."