Updated on 09/16/2011 7:00AM

Mayakovsky victorious in Gotham


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Mayakovsky got his win. Saarland got his race. And the connections of the two principal horses in Sunday's $200,000 Gotham Stakes left chilly Aqueduct Sunday afternoon quite content with their position.

Mayakovsky, away from the races since Sept.1, used his speed and class to record a 3 3/4 length gate-to-wire victory in the Grade 3 Gotham before 6,618 at Aqueduct. Saarland, unraced since winning the Remsen last Nov. 24, finished with interest to be second, 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Parade Music.

Heir D'Twine, Rum Splasher, Tank's Expectation and Two Shakes completed the order of finish.

Despite drifting out significantly in the stretch, Mayakovsky did everything he was supposed to do Sunday. In a field of void of speed, Mayakovsky took command soon after the start under Edgar Prado and set fractions of 22.54 seconds, 45.13, 1:09.45 and completed the mile in 1:34.90. He returned $3.50 as the 3-5 favorite.

"It was a good spot for him,' trainer Patrick Biancone said. "I wanted to run him one turn to start just in case he's only speed. But, what I liked today is when he came into the stretch he kicked home. He [drifted] a little bit right, but I guess if somebody came at him he wouldn't [drift]."

Prado, who won Saturday's Florida Derby aboard Harlan's Holiday, said Mayakovsky did what he expected him to do.

"He's been working real well and it was just a matter of handling the track and the distance and he did," Prado said. "I think it's just a bad habit of him drifting a little bit, Patrick is going to work on it."

The victory did not necessarily put Mayakovsky on the Triple Crown trail. Biancone said Mayakovsky, owned by Michael Tabor, would ship to California on Tuesday morning and would be further evaluated before any decision would be made on his next start.

"Tonight, I'm going to dream about the Derby, but tomorrow I may wake up and change my mind," Biancone said. "If we decide to keep going down the Derby route we'll come back for the Wood, for sure."

Saarland will definitely make his next start in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial on April 13. Trainer Shug McGaughey knew Saarland would be at a disadvantage in a one-turn mile race with no speed. He was looking for Saarland to finish well and that's what he did after racing fifth early and rallying wide on the turn.

"I'm pleased," McGaughey said. "At least now we can go to the next step with confidence knowing he wants to run two turns, knowing he wants to run a lot farther than a mile, so we'll go from there."