04/06/2013 6:41PM

Aqueduct: Swagger Jack rallies to victory in Carter

Michael Amoruso
Swagger Jack, with Irad Ortiz Jr. riding, wins the Carter Handicap.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Circling five wide turning for home, the lightly regarded Swagger Jack ($33.60) unleashed a sustained run through the stretch to win Saturday’s 113th running of the $400,000 Carter Handicap.

Away slowest in the field of six, Swagger Jack raced in next-to-last position down the backstretch, as 26-1 outsider Consortium carved out early fractions of 22.17 and 44.63 seconds under pressure from Fort Loudon, Brigand and even-money favorite Discreet Dancer.

Consortium was still in front approaching midstretch, but began to tire on the rail after six furlongs in 1:08.79, as Swagger Jack outkicked Discreet Dancer to gain command.

Swagger Jack opened a clear lead between calls, and held safe a furious late run from 9-5 second choice Sahara Sky to win the Grade 1 race by three-quarters of a length under Irad Ortiz Jr., after running seven furlongs in 1:21.44 on a fast main track.

[MORE: DRF Weekend: Father figure behind Ortiz brothers' success]

“I just tried to follow the instructions the trainer told me,” said Ortiz. “Everything he told me happened in the race. He told me to break four, five lengths behind the speed and let the speed go. At the three-eighths pole, that horse loves to go, so that’s what I did, and he started to pick them up pretty quick.”

Sahara Sky, who trailed most of the way, flew home to get second by a length over Discreet Dancer, who held third by a neck from Fort Loudon. Consortium and Brigand completed the order of finish.

In posting his first career stakes victory, the Calder-based Swagger Jack, trained by Marty Wolfson, collected $240,000 and more than doubled his earnings from 15 prior starts.

Discreet Dancer, who had been 4 for 4 in one-turn races going in, had a clear trip from outside in close range of the leaders, reached near-even terms a furlong out but failed to punch in the lane.

“I thought we got the trip we expected,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “He had a good stalking position. Turning for home he had a big chance, and then ran kind of evenly down the lane.”