12/06/2009 12:00AM

Ibboyee recovers to take Damon Runyon


Ibboyee and Opus A overcame adventurous trips Sunday to take a pair of two-turn stakes for New York-bred 2-year-olds at Aqueduct.

In the for colts and geldings, Ibboyee stumbled badly at the start and got shuffled back on the turn before coming with a four-wide rush in the stretch under Ramon Dominguez to win by 2 1/2 lengths over City Trooper. It was two lengths back to Shrimp Dancer in third.

The win was the fourth from five starts for Ibboyee, a son of Medallist owned by Anita and Stuart Sobotnick's Antsu Stables and trained by Todd Pletcher. Ibboyee had won a pair of sprint stakes at Finger Lakes before finishing fourth in the slop in the Sleepy Hollow on Oct. 24 at Belmont.

After stumbling at the break, Ibboyee saved ground down the backside, though he still raced in the three path as the jockeys avoided the inside two paths. Ibboyee was fourth midway down the backside but dropped back to sixth entering the far turn. Ibboyee split horses approaching the quarter pole and tipped four wide in the stretch. He overtook favored City Trooper outside the sixteenth pole with Dominguez slapping him a couple of times on the shoulder with his whip.

Ibboyee covered the mile and 70 yards on a track labeled good in 1:42.78. He returned $6.90 as the second choice.

"He was very, very sharp coming out of the gate, and he kind of out-broke himself," Dominguez said. "That's why he stumbled so badly. Once he came back up, he was there for me and pretty aggressive on the bridle. It seemed like they were battling in the front and some horses were wide. I just sat on him and waited as long as I could, hoping for the best. When I got him out, he really gave me an awesome run and finished up very nicely."

The win capped a super three-day period for Pletcher, who on Friday won the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs with Rule and on Saturday won the Garland of Roses with Awesome Ashley. Pletcher went 6 for 10 in the first week of Aqueduct's inner-track meet.

In the , for juvenile fillies, Opus A raced six to seven wide for much of the race but still powered through with an eye-catching stretch run under Alan Garcia to win by 4 1/2 lengths over Spirit of Rose, the slight favorite of three 5-2 shots. It was another 7 1/2 lengths back to Myrtle's Gray.

Equipped with blinkers for the first time, Opus A was difficult for Garcia to handle and appeared to be running off while six to seven wide around the first turn and down the backside. Turning into the stretch, it almost looked as if Garcia was going to pull the filly up. But once he got her straightened away, she kicked in strongly, running past Spirit of Rose inside the eighth pole and drawing clear decisively.

Opus A, a daughter of Read the Footnotes owned by Michael Esposito's Broadway Blue Stable and trained by Rick Violette, covered the mile and 70 yards over a good track in 1:44.44 and returned $7.50.

"It was her first time with blinkers on and she was almost a little spooked - she wouldn't turn," Violette said. "At about the three-eighths pole, I kicked the chair. Two seconds later, I was like, 'Oh my God,' and then the race was over. She was in the middle of the track on both turns, and then won for fun!"

Opus A had defeated New York-breds at Saratoga before finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Spinaway. Violette said Opus A entrapped her epiglottis in the race and underwent throat surgery.

"Obviously, the surgery was a success," Violette said. "I think she's got serious talent. We'll talk to the owners and see what they want to do -- whether we'll stick around here after the first of the year or head down south. We'll let her cool out and have some fun thinking about it."