11/12/2016 5:08PM

Ortiz and Bigger Picture outrun Danish Dynaformer in Red Smith


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - When one watches the ride Jose Ortiz gave Bigger Picture in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Red Smith at Aqueduct it’s no wonder he figures to be in the conversation for an Eclipse Award at year’s end.

Making an early move behind a slow pace to attain better position, Bigger Picture was able to get the jump on his rivals and score a 1 1/4-length victory over Danish Dynaformer in the Red Smith, the last graded stakes on this circuit for the year. Danish Dynaformer got second by a nose over 3-5 favorite Wake Forest.

The win was the eighth for Bigger Picture from 20 starts and first in a stakes race. He was beaten a nose in the Grade 3 Sycamore last time out at Keeneland.

In the Sycamore, Bigger Picture was up close to a pedestrian pace, encountered some traffic and just missed.

On Saturday, Ortiz had Bigger Picture in sixth position, about four lengths off the pace-setting Biz the Nurse, who set fractions of 25.14 seconds for the quarter, 49.80 for the half, and 1:15.18 for six furlongs.

It was shortly after the six-furlong mark that Ortiz moved Bigger Picture from sixth into a joint third. Ortiz was able to get to the rail for the run around the far turn, and was then able to guide Bigger Picture outside of Biz the Nurse straightening away down the lane.

“I could have stayed there, my horse was very relaxed, but I make him go a little bit and take a great position around the turn,” Ortiz said.

Bigger Picture took the lead above the three-sixteenths pole and was able to outfinish a wide-rallying Danish Dynaformer, under John Velazquez, and Wake Forest, who got bumped between horses in midstretch.

“I know Johnny was coming outside, so I wait and wait. I knew I had the edge because I’m cutting the corner very well,” Ortiz said. “We entered the stretch, I let him go, and he responded very well. He’s a very game horse; when he felt that horse coming to him, he pinned his ears and he kept going.”

The win was one of three on Saturday’s Aqueduct card for Ortiz, who now has 299 victories on the year, 23 in graded stakes.

“I thought he rode an absolutely perfect race; saved all the ground and everything worked out,” said trainer Mike Maker, who watched the race via simulcast. “Heartbreaking loss last time, very deserving winner today.”

Bigger Picture, a gelding by Badge of Silver owned by Three Diamonds Farm, covered the 1 3/8 miles in 2:15.46 and returned $21.40 to win.

Maker said Bigger Picture could surface next at Gulfstream Park or Sam Houston.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest got stepped on and suffered a cut on his hoof, known as a grabbed quarter, according to trainer Chad Brown.
“Nearly clipped heels,” Brown said. “Tough trip.”