08/26/2016 3:42PM

Hit It Once More wins Albany Stakes, now eyes Pennsylvania Derby

Barbara D. Livingston
Hit It Once More will now likely next race in the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 24.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - For a few weeks, owner Bill Parcells and trainer Gary Sciacca debated the merits of running their New York Derby winner Hit It Once More in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers, or Friday’s $250,000 Albany Stakes for New York-breds.
The decision was made to give Hit It Once More another try against New York-breds and, if he ran well, take on the big boys in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 24.

Look out Philadelphia, Parcells _ the former New York Giants coach _ is coming to town.

Hit It Once More earned a shot at the big time with a front-running, 3 3/4-length victory in the Albany at Saratoga. Taking control entering the first turn under Kendrick Carmouche, Hit It Once More was alone on the lead until the quarter pole when Extinct Charm, under Dylan Davis, made a run at him, only to be turned aside.

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Hit It Once More bounded clear an easy winner, covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.38. He returned $3.90 as the 4-5 favorite.

Extinct Charm finished second by 7 3/4 lengths over Celtic Chaos, who was 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Jet Black, also owned by Parcells and trained by Sciacca. Eden Ridge, Owner Gentleman and Taoiseach completed the order of finish.

The victory came five weeks after Hit It Once More beat Extinct Charm by 6 1/2 lengths in the New York Derby at Finger Lakes.

“He was training just as well, he was doing really well coming into this race, that’s what we expected,” said Sciacca, who ended a 0 for 41 skein at the meet. “I think we made the right move.”

Parcells made the right move a year ago when he followed Sciacca’s advice to keep bidding on Hit It Once More, who was eventually bought for $90,000 at the Fasig Tipton Timonium sale.

“Gary picked him out and he went over budget and that’s how he got his name,” Parcells said in the winner’s circle. “He kept telling me ‘Bill, hit it once more, hit it once more,’ so once we got him I said that’s his name.”

Parcells said he went $20,000 over what he originally had intended to spend.

Hit It Once More, a son of Hard Spun, has now won four of his last five starts after losing his first five races.

Sciacca said the reasoning for skipping the Travers was to get his horse another race while letting the upper-echelon 3-year-olds have a hard race in the Travers.

“Let them bang heads, we’ll go farther; he was doing real well, you have a New York-bred, you might as well take advantage,” Sciacca said. “There’s a lot of money in there.”