10/06/2016 6:54PM

Minks Aprise surges from last to first in HBPA Stakes

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Minks Aprise, with Mario Pino aboard, wins the HBPA Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths.

Minks Aprise got off to a horrendous start  that left her last of 12 fillies and mares in Thursday night’s $100,000 HBPA Stakes at Presque Isle Downs. But jockey Mario Pino never pushed the panic button and was rewarded for his patience when Minks Aprise came flying in the stretch to win the co-feature on closing night.

“She reared up leaving, so I just sat still on her,” said Pino, who was riding the 4-year-od Minks Aprise for the first time. “I was told to make one run with her from wherever’s she was at. I sat until the three-eighths pole and she was running them over. I thought I had some horse to finish up. She was the best.”

Minks Aprise ($14.40), winning for the first time since taking the six-furlong Camilla Urso at Golden Gate Fields in March, provided trainer Michael Dickinson with his first stakes victory since he came out of retirement earlier this year.

Pino saved ground from the back of the pack as longshots Kicken Livi and Marquee Cal Gal dueled through early fractions of 23.34 and 46.61 seconds in the mile-and-70-yard race. Pino swung Minks Aprise, a daughter of Northern Afleet, to the outside at the three-eighths pole. She moved up to sixth at the top of the stretch, hit the front with a furlong remaining, and drew clear to win by 2 3/4 lengths over Valued Strike, a Pennsylvania-bred seeking her third straight win and the 3-1 favorite. The 3-year-old filly Artesian was third at 9-2, 1 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up and 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Afleet Bertie.

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Minks Aprise, now 5 for 14 lifetime with earnings of $192,477 for owner KMN Racing, was coming off a third-place finish in the Steve Pini Memorial, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes at Suffolk Downs.

Wellabled scores in Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile

Wellabled, coming off a dominant front-running victory in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity, used the same tactics to take the $100,000 Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile.

With E.T. Baird in from Chicago to retain the mount, Wellabled ($3) cruised through fractions of 22.42 and 45.17 seconds. He was clear through six furlongs in 1:09.99 and completed 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.75, finishing about two lengths in front of recent maiden winner Boys From Boston. Romeo O Romero, runner-up in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, finished third.

“He broke really sharp. I knew I had a lot of horse,” said Baird. “He’s a horse that I think will be pretty versatile. He’s coming into his prime.”

Trained by Larry Rivelli for owner Carolyn Wilson, Wellabled, a son of Shackleford, is now 3 for 4 lifetime with earnings of $156,200.