01/03/2011 4:32PM

Crossbow earns trip to Florida by impressively winning maiden

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Already flush with many of the best 3-year-olds in training, south Florida will be getting another one relatively soon in Crossbow, who won a six-furlong maiden race at Aqueduct on Sunday by three lengths.

After getting hard-used in a ridiculous speed duel when finishing third in his debut on Nov. 27, Crossbow contested more manageable fractions on Sunday, drawing away from the well-meant first-time starter The Fed Eased.

Crossbow, a son of Bernardini out of the multiple Grade 3 stakes-winning mare Forest Heiress, flashed good early speed, but finished well while running six furlongs in 1:11.08 under Ramon Dominguez. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 86.

“He was a bit keen, some of that might have been from his first start and what happened,’’ said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

McLaughlin was referring to the fact that in his debut Crossbow dueled for the lead through a quarter run in 21.40 seconds and a half-mile run in 44.50 seconds, before fading late. Sunday, the early fractions were 23.18 seconds and 46.73.

McLaughlin said he would look for a seven-furlong or one-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park for Crossbow in the second condition book.

“He’s a really nice colt, ran very well, he’s going to be shipping south soon whenever there is a van in the next 10 days,’’ McLaughlin said. “We’ve always liked him, we thought he was one of our better colts; we decided to leave him there and break his maiden.’’

McLaughlin said another factor in shipping Crossbow south was the fact that he has another speedy 3-year-old, Fort Hughes, for Darley Stable, to leave in New York. Fort Hughes, a debut winner at Belmont, finished second, beaten a head, in the $75,000 Southampton Stakes at Parx Racing on Dec. 21. He is being pointed to the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes here on Jan. 17.