03/30/2011 3:15PM

Aqueduct stakes has productive pair

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Be Bullish, with Junior Alvarado up, wins the Hollie Hughes.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Be Bullish and Deputy Daney, a pair of geldings who returned quick dividends winning midwinter stakes races in their first starts after being claimed, head a short but salty field of five older sprints in the $60,000 Mr. Nasty overnight stakes on Friday.

Two starts back, the leather-tough New York-bred Be Bullish was claimed by Richard Dutrow Jr. for $75,000, a not inconsiderable sum for a 6-year-old gelding making the 45th start of his career.

Be Bullish made it look like a bargain, however, when he promptly returned to win the Hollie Hughes Stakes and earned back more than 50 percent of the investment.

“Rick told me, ‘I have a big race in mind for this guy’ after we claimed him,” said assistant trainer Juan Rodriguez afterward.

Deputy Daney, a speedball who won the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes as a 3-year-old last winter, was claimed by Hugh McMahon for $25,000 out of his first start of the year at Laurel Park. He returned to the inner track a month later and immediately won himself out, earning $36,000 for a wire-to-wire score in the Always Run Lucky overnight stakes at the expense of odds-on favorite Temecula Creek.

Last time out, Deputy Daney set a screaming pace of 21.63 and 44.03 seconds before fading to third in the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap.

Temecula Creek was one of the earliest and biggest success stories for jockey-turned-trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who comes off a runner-up finish at the inner-track meet behind Todd Pletcher. He won four straight races after being claimed for $7,500 late last winter, and closed out 2010 winning twice more, a $75,000 optional claimer at Aqueduct’s fall meet, and the $75,000 Valley Forge Stakes at Parx Racing, to bank nearly $200,000 for the year.

“He had back class,” recalled Rodriguez of the claim.

Also entered are Kruger Park, fourth in the Always Run Lucky last out, and Flat Bold, who two starts back beat Be Bullish by a length with a perfect stalking trip under leading rider Ramon Dominguez.

The Tom Albertrani-trained Flat Bold gets a switch back to Dominguez, who has been aboard for three of his four wins, after finishing a distant fifth as the second choice in the Tom Fool.

The fifth, seventh, and ninth races are ostensibly the first turf races of the season, but with most of the Northeast under a winter storm watch Thursday night into Friday, that appears to be something of an April Fools’ Day prank by Mother Nature.