11/29/2015 2:39PM

Road to the Derby: Remsen Stakes

R.L. Thibodeau
Mohaymen wins the Remsen Stakes on Saturday at Aqueduct.

Grade 2, $300,000 Remsen Stakes, 1 1/8 miles, Aqueduct, Nov. 28, 2015
(10 Derby qualifying points for a win, 4 for second, 2 for third, 1 for fourth)

Winner: Mohaymen (sire: Tapit)
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey: Junior Alvarado
Owner: Shadwell Stable
Beyer Speed Figure: 95

MOHAYMEN completed a terrific 2-year-old campaign by remaining unbeaten with this victory, in which he got a career-best Beyer Speed Figure while racing two turns for the first time and using Lasix for the first time. He is living up to every bit of his $2.2 million purchase price as a yearling, and he certainly does not appear to have reached his ceiling yet.

Mohaymen has tactical speed, and jockey Junior Alvarado used it to great advantage by securing a dream position – on the rail, just behind the leaders – around the first turn and into the backstretch. Mohaymen continued in that spot around the far turn, then showed good acceleration to knife between FLEXIBILITY and DONEGAL MOON to get the lead. He drifted a bit through the lane, but he was widening his margin at the wire with a solid final furlong in 12.26 seconds.

He heads to Florida for the winter as one of the elite prospects for the spring classics.

Flexibility, who was second, stalked the early pace in second while just outside Donegal Moon, drifted out just enough at the top of the lane to allow Mohaymen room to escape, continued bravely with Mohaymen until deep stretch, could not keep up with the winner, but held on well for second while also drifting out. He also was second-best to Mohaymen in the Nashua, a one-turn mile Nov. 4 at Aqueduct.

GIFT BOX, who was third, was able to angle over into the first turn and secure a ground-saving position, was a bit keen around the first turn, advanced to be alongside Mohaymen on the far turn, had to angle out entering the lane to go around Flexibility, and failed to get past Flexibility while unable to keep up with Mohaymen through the lane. He also swapped back to his left lead in deep stretch, likely because he was tired from the effort, though he was well clear of everyone else. It wasn’t a bad race at all, but he left enough of a question mark as to whether he’s reaching the outer limit of his range.

Fourth-place finisher SAIL AHOY added blinkers for this race but still lacked any early speed. He made a menacing move on the far turn but failed to go on with it, being out-kicked by the top three through the lane and only getting past the tiring Donegal Moon in the shadow of the wire. Mohaymen and Flexibility seemed to go forward off the Nashua, but he didn’t. His dam produced the outstanding grass horse Point of Entry, so perhaps his future will be on turf.

Donegal Moon, who was fifth, went for the lead, as expected, from his inside draw and led through moderate fractions but could not keep pace with the top three in upper stretch and couldn’t quite hold off Sail Ahoy in the final yards. He’s a cut below at this point.

RAVENHEART, who was sixth, raced at the back of the pack along the rail around the clubhouse turn, remained on the rail down the backside and around the far turn, swung out to the middle of the track for the stretch run, and finished evenly. This was a big step up off a pair of six-furlong races. Properly spotted in suitable Mid-Atlantic races, he could do just fine.

HUNTER O’RILEY, who was seventh, raced in the rear while just outside Ravenheart around the first turn, raced in tandem with Ravenheart down the backstretch to the far turn, was angled far wide a quarter-mile out, and had no acceleration.

RUNAWAY KING, who was eighth, was ridden aggressively leaving the gate and wound up three paths wide around the first turn while racing right outside Mohaymen. He stayed in that spot and was again three paths wide on the far turn but began to tire midway on that turn and retreated.

MARENGO ROAD, who finished last of nine, went into the first turn four paths wide after breaking from the far outside post. He remained well off the rail down the backstretch and around the far turn, then was carried out even wider by Hunter O’Riley near the quarter pole, but he was going nowhere at the time.