11/14/2015 4:55PM

Mr Maybe snares Red Smith in stakes debut

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Mr Maybe, under Irad Ortiz Jr., scores by 4 1/4 lengths in the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap.

Stepping up into a stakes race for the first time, Mr Maybe ran by the leaders in the stretch like they were standing still to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct by better than four lengths under confident handling from Irad Ortiz Jr.

Despite trailing for nearly a mile behind War Dancer’s dawdling pace of 26.07 seconds, 51.31, 1:16.94, and 1:41.34, Mr Maybe began picking up horses while widest around the third and final turn. He caught War Dancer with a furlong remaining, and drew out with every stride to win the final graded turf stakes of the year in New York by 4 1/4 lengths. Kaigun and Holiday Star were along late to finish second and third, as War Dancer faded to fourth. Mr Speaker prompted the pace to the stretch and weakened to fifth as the 122-pound top weight.

“They told me he’s the kind of horse you don’t push too much and just to save ground,” said Ortiz. “So I broke out of there and tried to save ground the whole way. By the half-mile pole, I knew they were going a little slow, so I had to move. I went a little wide but I had horse, and when I asked him, he just took off.”

Purchased following a first-level allowance win at Parx Racing in late August, and given to Chad Brown, Mr Maybe won his secondary allowance condition at Belmont’s fall meet. He left little doubt as to who was best in his stakes debut, and returned $6.80 to win as the favorite in a field of eight.

 Mr Maybe ran 1 3/8 miles in 2:17.49 on a good-to-firm turf course, and carried 115 pounds.

“We knew he was sitting on a really good race, but how easily he won surprised me,” said Brown, whose horses dominated the fall turf stakes on the circuit. “He’s a horse that has a lot of talent. We thought there was some room for improvement and he’s taken to our program nicely. My staff has really enjoyed working with the horse – he’s a big teddy bear – and he’s only getting better.”