05/23/2010 11:00PM

Ibboyee holds on to win Spend a Buck

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photos
Ibboyee has enough left to hold off the late-runners in the Spend a Buck at Monmouth Park.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Ibboyee broke through with his first win of the year, and first victory against open company, in the for 3-year-olds on Sunday at Monmouth Park.

The second card of 50-day, $50 million meet was another rousing success at the betting windows. Following the over $9 million bet on Saturday's opener, total handle Sunday was $7,046,389 from all sources, an increase of 126 percent over last year. The crowd was 8,500.

Ibboyee, a New York-bred trained by Todd Pletcher, had finished third or better in stakes company three straight times prior to the Spend a Buck, including a pair of loses to the top sprinter D' Funnybone at Gulfstream.

This was Ibboyee's time to shine as the 2-1 favorite, thanks to a well-judged ride by John Velazquez, who kept the colt in the clear in stalking position behind the pacesetting Rule by Night.

Ibboyee made his move on the final turn but Rule by Night had something left after setting a moderate pace of 49.40 and 1:14.13.

After finally disposing of that rival, Ibboyee held off late runs from Our Dark Knight, who angled off the rail to get second in his stakes debut, and Afleet Again, who ran down Ibboyee last time out to win the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct. Ibboyee won by a half-length while Our Dark Knight finished a neck in front of Afleet Again.

"He broke really well and there wasn t much speed in the race so I just let him settle really nice right in behind," Velazquez said. "When I asked him down the lane, he really res ponded. He's come back this year and has been a little unlucky. I think in his last race [the Withers] I moved a little too early, but today everything worked out perfect."

It was an eventful race for Afleet Again. He was fractious in the starting gate, unseating Abel Mariano. After settling down for the break, Afleet Again was hung widest of all from the outside post in the eight-horse field.

Just as in the Withers, Afleet Again drifted extremely wide in the lane before kicking in to get third.

The time was 1:43.10 for the one mile and 70 yards on the fast track.

Garrett Gomez, who was taken to a local hospital following a spill on Saturday, returned to action on Sunday and picked up a win in the second race.

Racing resumes at Monmouth on Saturday, followed by cards on Sunday and Memorial Day.