11/28/2015 3:18PM

McLaughlin gets his Remsen win with Mohaymen

R.L. Thibodeau
Mohaymen, ridden by Junior Alvarado, wins the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths Saturday.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – There would be no tough beat for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin this year in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes as Mohaymen split horses in midstretch and drew clear to a 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday’s $300,000 stakes for juvenile males at Aqueduct.

In six previous runnings of the Remsen, McLaughlin had finished second three times, including narrow losses in 2013 with Cairo Prince and last year with Frosted.

On Saturday, Mohaymen, sitting in third behind a tepid early pace, split horses inside the three-sixteenths pole and then spurted away from Flexibility and Gift Box – both trained by Chad Brown – to win for the third time in as many starts.

Flexibility, who finished second to Mohaymen in the Grade 2 Nashua here Nov. 24, finished second by 1 1/2 lengths over Gift Box. It was five lengths farther back to Sail Ahoy in fourth. He was followed by Donegal Moon, Ravenheart, Hunter O’Riley, Runaway King, and Marengo Road.

When he won the Nashua, Mohaymen had acted up in the paddock and then at the gate. On Saturday, Mohaymen, treated with Lasix for the first time, was much quieter in the paddock and was more professional at the gate.

In between the Nashua and Remsen, McLaughlin schooled Mohaymen at the gate and had jockey Junior Alvarado work Mohaymen behind horses so he could learn to take dirt in his face.

“We did school him a bit coming up to this race, and it worked out well,” said McLaughlin, who trains Mohaymen for Shadwell Stable.

Mohaymen, a son of Tapit and a half-brother to 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day, raced in the second flight of horses, about two lengths off the pace set by Donegal Moon, with Flexibility stalking him.

Alvarado said that when Mohaymen saw daylight between horses, he wanted to go, but Alvarado wouldn’t let him. Alvarado guided Mohaymen outside of Donegal Moon approaching the quarter pole, and he went between him and Flexibility at the three-sixteenths pole and secured the front by the eighth pole. Mohaymen came out a path or two in the stretch while edging clear.

Mohaymen, a $2.2 million purchase, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.69 – 2.72 seconds faster than Lewis Bay’s time for winning the Demoiselle earlier on the card – and returned $5.10 as the favorite.

Alvarado said he was a little concerned with how quiet Mohaymen was prerace, “but as soon as we left the gate, he turned on his game,” he said.

Mohaymen, who earned 10 qualifying points toward next year’s Kentucky Derby, was scheduled to ship to south Florida on Sunday and begin preparing for his 3-year-old campaign, which could start in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 30.

Gift Box, the 2-1 second choice, was a bit rank early but appeared to have every chance to run down Mohaymen in the stretch. He was also outfinished by his stablemate, Flexibility.

“The horse didn’t look like he broke great, and he was a little slow to get into gear, and then he was behind a slow pace,” Brown said of Gift Box. “Once he got out in the lane, he had every opportunity to run them down. I thought the winner was very good today. I thought both my horses ran very respectable, and it’s something to work with, with both horses getting around two turns. Let’s see what happens moving forward.”