01/17/2016 2:30PM

Constellation dominates as heavy favorite in Ruthless


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Constellation was very much the horse to beat Sunday in the $100,000 Ruthless Stakes when the overnight came out and there were eight 3-year-old fillies in the six-furlong race at Aqueduct.

She was virtually unbeatable after four horses scratched out of the race, the connections of those entrants opting to run elsewhere.

Thus, Constellation was pounded to 1-20 favoritism and didn’t disappoint her backers or her connections Sunday as she cruised to a front-running, 10-length victory in the Ruthless to kick off her 3-year-old campaign.

Breaking from post 2 in the four-horse field under Irad Ortiz Jr., Constellation used her early speed to make the front shortly after the start. She ran an opening quarter in 23.57 seconds, laughed at some token pressure from Wave of Glory, and galloped home an easy winner with Ortiz just shaking the reins at her a couple of times.

Kalabaka finished second, a half-length in front of Mo d’Amour. Wave of Glory finished last.

Constellation covered six furlongs in 1:10.89 and returned $2.10 as the overwhelming favorite.

Those who scratched out of the Ruthless were Karen’s Silk and Lost Raven, who finished first and second Saturday in the Marshua Stakes at Laurel, and Clipthehcouponannie, who was entered to run in an allowance race Monday. Absatootly, a supplemental nominee to the Ruthless, scratched to await the $100,000 Maddie May Stakes for New York-breds Jan. 31.

Sunday’s win was the third from five career starts for Constellation, a daughter of Bellamy Road owned by the L N J Foxwoods stable of Long Island residents Larry, Nanci, and Jaime Roth and trained by Steve Asmussen. The Roths paid $800,000 for Constellation as a 2-year-old in training last March.

Constellation is one of a trio of talented 3-year-old fillies the Roths have in their stable. Nickname, winner of the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont, and Inheritance, a 16-length maiden winner at Belmont in October, are in training at Fair Grounds with Asmussen.

Those two fillies look like they want to go long, which makes it somewhat easier to keep Constellation, a daughter of Bellamy Road, sprinting.

“I’ve learned in a short period of time that when a horse is really good at something they get more confident and you could see today she was very confident,” Jaime Roth said after the race. “I think leaving her at this distance would probably be the right move. Because of the other two, it’s easier to keep her doing what she loves.”

Ortiz believes Constellation could stretch out, and he noted some improvement in the filly in her last two starts – both dominant victories – as compared to her earlier races.

“The first couple of races she was different – when she broke out of the gate, she wanted to go too fast,” Ortiz said. “Now she relaxed more the last two times. She’s improving.”