01/19/2009 12:00AM

Taqarub wins Winkfield in blowout


OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- Not all of jockey Alan Garcia s best horses went south for the winter. So, Garcia decided to come north Monday for the one that stayed behind.

Garcia s one-day visit to Aqueduct was well worth it as he guided Taqarub to a dominating 8 1/4-length victory in the $70,045 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes for 3-year-olds. His final time of 1:09.26 was the fastest six-furlongs run at the inner track meet.

After stumbling at the break, Taqarub quickly righted himself, and ran fractions of 22.81 seconds, 45.78, and 57.23 before getting his final eighth in 12.03 seconds while widening his lead at every call. The Prince picked up the chase after the opening quarter and finished second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of stablemate Fellow Crasher. Great Debater, Giant Ryan, and Naos completed the order of finish.

"He was very quick after that stumble, made the lead, and he was in control and finished very good," said Garcia, who scurried to catch a flight back to Florida scheduled to leave before the Big A card was completed. "I didn t even hit my horse."

The victory was the third in as many starts for Taqarub, a son of Aldebaran purchased at auction by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum s Shadwell Stable for $300,000.

"He continues to improve and we re amazed," said Art Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "He d never trained better, but you could never tell this kind of a thing. Just a very nice colt."

Magnuson said the Winkfield victory took on added significance because Bob Witham, the man who broke horses for Shadwell for 20 years, died in Camden, S.C., in December.

"We re all thinking about Bob at a time like this," Magnuson said. "He broke this horse. He had a lot to do with Taqarub. He liked this horse."

Magnuson said that Taqarub could stay in New York for the Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes on Feb. 16, or "he could go to Florida at any time."

Earlier, Mor Chances ($10.40), last turning for home, rallied down the center of the snow-covered inner track under Richard Migliore to win the $67,750 Kashatreya Stakes for New York-breds by 2 3/4 lengths over even-money favorite On With It. It was 1 1/2 lengths back to Be Bullish. It was the second straight victory for Mor Chances, a 5-year-old son of American Chance, owned by Sullivan Lane Stable and Vincent Scuderi and trained by Richard Dutrow Jr. Mor Chances ran six furlongs in 1:09.70.