02/21/2016 7:00PM

Rodriguez sweeps New York-bred stakes with Good Luck Gus, Court Dancer

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Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Good Luck Gus, who got up by a neck in the Haynesfield, was part of a three-win day for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. and trainer Rudy Rodriguez.

The winter of Rudy continued Sunday at Aqueduct as trainer Rudy Rodriguez swept both stakes races for New York-breds with Good Luck Gus overtaking stablemate Royal Posse in the $100,000 Haynesfield Stakes and Court Dancer holding off Willet in the $100,000 Broadway Stakes.

The margin of victory in both races was a neck.

The two stakes victories were part of a three-win afternoon for Rodriguez, who also captured an allowance race with Madam Aamoura. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was aboard all three winners for Rodriguez. Ortiz now has 56 wins for the inner-track meet, four fewer than his brother Jose, who is leading all riders with 60 wins.

Michael Dubb is the sole owner of Court Dancer while he owns Good Luck Gus in partnership with Bethlehem Stables and the Elkstone Group. Dubb and Bethlehem also own Royal Posse with Gary Aisquith

The three wins give Rodriguez 36 for the Aqueduct winter meet, 15 more than his closest pursuer, Linda Rice. After losing with his first two starters on Sunday’s card, Rodriguez had lost 12 straight races with 13 runners.

Good Luck Gus, a 4-year-old son of Lookin at Lucky, hadn’t raced in more than seven weeks, or since finishing third behind Empire Dreams and Saratoga Snacks in the Alex M. Robb Handicap. Rodriguez felt Good Luck Gus may have been compromised by a slow pace that afternoon as the first half-mile went in 49.06 seconds.

Sunday, the early fractions were quicker as Fox Rules, under Jaime Rodriguez, ran an opening quarter-mile in 23.64 seconds and a half-mile in 47.88 while being chased by Eye Luv Lulu.

Royal Posse, the 3-5 favorite under Junior Alvarado, joined the fray three wide and around the turn crept up alongside Fox Rules. Royal Posse was able to put away Fox Rules by midstretch but Good Luck Gus, who followed Royal Posse until the stretch, was tipped four to five wide, and was able to run down Royal Posse in the final strides.

Ostrolenka, was taken off the pace by Chris DeCarlo, tried to run down the Rodriguez duo but had to settle for third. He was followed by Full of Mine, Fox Rules, and Eye Luv Lulu. Saratoga Snacks, Johannesburg Smile, and West Hills Giant were scratched.

Good Luck Gus, who is now 5 for 13, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.76 and returned $7.90 as the second choice.

“I think the pace helped us a lot,” Rodriguez said. “Both horses ran a big race. We’re very proud of both of them.”

Pace - or more accurately the lack of it - was a big factor in Court Dancer’s neck victory over Willet in the $100,000 Broadway.

Court Dancer was able to get away with an uncontested early lead - she ran an opening quarter in 24.06 seconds - and then held off a late run from Willet to win the Broadway by a neck. It was 2 1/2 lengths back to Blithely in third.

It was the first win in three starts for Court Dancer since Dubb claimed her for $40,000 last October.

Court Dancer was able to get to the lead uncontested in part because Tricky Zippy, the potential other speed, was bumped a couple of times coming out of the gate and jockey Angel Arroyo had take up on her before chasing the pace.

Meanwhile, Willet, fourth early under Cornelio Velasquez, came with a four-wide rally that fell just short.

Court Dancer, a 5-year-old daughter of War Chant, covered the six furlongs in 1:10.79 and returned $4.90 as the 7-5 favorite.

“I just tried to relax her and we were able to go a little slow so we could save something for the end,” Ortiz said.

Jimmy Iselin, the trainer and part-owner of the 8-year-old Willet, said a decision on whether to race Willet one more time before sending her to the breeding shed would be made this week. Willet, by Jump Start, has a record of 10-9-6 from 30 career starts and earnings of $853,400.