12/20/2015 4:26PM

Frosty Margarita deals Behrnik's Bank first loss in Fifth Avenue

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Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Frosty Margarita, ridden by Irad Ortiz, defeats 1-5 favorite Behrnik's Bank by a neck in the Fifth Avenue for 2-year-old fillies.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Behrnik’s Bank came to New York with big speed and big hype and she went off a short price in Sunday’s $150,000 Fifth Avenue Division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Aqueduct.

But as often happens when a horse ships into New York for the first time, life gets a bit more challenging.

Such was the case Sunday as Behrnik’s Bank, the 1-5 favorite, couldn’t hold off Frosty Margarita, falling a neck short to that filly in the six-furlong Fifth Avenue, restricted to progeny of New York stallions. It was 11 3/4 lengths back to Taken By Surprise in third.

While Frosty Margarita, a daughter of Frost Giant owned and bred by Gabrielle Farm, was winning for the third time in six starts, Behrnik’s Bank lost for the first time in three starts.

Behrnik’s Bank won her first two starts by combined 31 1/2 lengths against Pennsylvania-breds at Penn National and ran very fast in both races. Sunday’s loss didn’t sit well with owner-trainer Peter Kazamias, who said he felt jockey Jose Ortiz should have busted the race open early rather than go in fractions of 23.37 seconds and 46.96 while only maintaining a half-length advantage.

“I told him to just go to the lead, not wait for the other horse,” Kazamias said. “I feel like I got robbed. She’ll show herself next time. For sure there’ll be a different jockey.”

Kazamias went with Ortiz instead of bringing Edwin Gonzalez here from Penn National because he wanted a New York rider.

Behrnik’s Bank got a little antsy in the gate, but settled down before the doors opened. She broke inward but did move to the lead, just not as easy as Ortiz expected.

 “She took the lead like I expected but she never took a hold of me,” Ortiz said. “I thought the first part she was going to take me at least to the three-eighths pole but she didn’t.”

Irad Ortiz had Frosty Margarita within a length of Behrnik’s Bank from the outset. He sent her Frost Margarita after Behrnik’s Bank turning into the stretch and was able to edge clear from her late. Frosty Margarita, trained by Rudy Rodriguez, covered six furlongs in 1:12.24 and returned $7.30 as the second choice.

“I wanted to be close and try to put a little pressure on that filly because I know if I let her go too easy she can keep going,” Irad Ortiz said. “But my filly settled good and when I asked her to run she showed me she was there for me.”

Rodriguez said he was happy that Ortiz put Frosty Margarita into the race.

“I was hoping we weren’t going to sacrifice our horse to push the favorite,” Rodriguez said. “It looked like we did the right thing. Don’t leave her alone. Keep the pressure on her. Maybe that was the key.”

Frosty Margarita could stretch out against New York-breds in the Maddie May Stakes going a mile and 70 yards on Jan. 31 or remain sprinting and wait for the $125,000 Franklin Square against New York breds on Feb. 20.