06/06/2016 5:45PM

Breakin the Fever wins George W. Barker Stakes


Breakin the Fever, the Horse of the Year at Finger Lakes in 2015, had to dig deep after being pushed hard on the lead in the $50,000 George W. Barker Stakes on Monday, but in the end, nobody could get to him, and he scored by three-quarters of a length.

Breakin the Fever, a 4-year-old son of Roaring Fever who is owned, trained, and was bred by Debra Breed, has now won four races in a row dating back to last year and six of his last seven. He is 9 for 11 at Finger Lakes.

Jockey Nazario Alvarado rode Breakin the Fever for the first time in the Barker. Oscar Gomez, who had ridden him in 18 of his last 19 starts, was aboard runner-up Crackerjack Jones. Gomez has now ridden Crackerjack Jones in 12 of his last 13 starts.

The public made Breakin the Fever the 6-5 Barker favorite over 2-1 Crackerjack Jones. When the gates opened, Breakin the Fever, Crackerjack Jones, and 9-2 Baime lined up three across on the lead, with Breakin the Fever holding a slight advantage.

After fast fractions of 21.81 and 44.31 seconds, Breakin the Fever drew clear. He was fully extended to defeat Crackerjack Jones. Baime finished third, another 1 1/2 lengths back.

Breakin the Fever paid $4.60. He was timed in 1:10.81 after getting five furlongs in 57.02. After the fast early pace, he covered his final furlong in 13.79 and the last quarter-mile in 26.50. It may take Breakin the Fever a while to bounce back from his Monday effort.

Breakin the Fever is now 11 for 20 in his career, with earnings of $309,441.

Escape to the Moon, trained downstate by Bruce Brown, was fourth. Sent off at 4-1, he raced maybe four lengths off the early lead. He gave up valuable ground when he was taken well out in the track on the stretch turn to try to go around the leaders. He was beaten three-quarters of a length for third by Baime and finished a neck ahead of fifth-place Frisky Warrior, last year's Barker winner.

• Jaime Rodriguez, the leading rider at Finger Lakes, rode three winners Monday. He won the second race on Caelifera for trainer Daniel Conway Jr., the fifth on Bad Hombre for Jeremiah Engelhart, and the eighth on Lightning Lilly for Greg Matties.