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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Stunning upsets in two hurdle stakes at Aqueduct

OZONE PARK, N.Y.--Both jump races at Aqueduct on Sept. 15, the William Entenmann Novice Stakes and the G1 Lonesome Glory Stakes, were very unusual in that each had an odds-on favorite, but then, even more unusual, in both races there were stunning upsets.

Harry Beswick celebrates on Noah and the Ark nearing wire in Lonesome Glory 4Harry Beswick celebrates on Noah And The Ark nearing wire in the Lonesome Glory Stakes (Photo by Tod Marks)Snap Decision and The Mean Queen were both expected to win easily, but both were defeated, both finishing second, with Snap Decision defeated by the weight he carried and The Mean Queen by a combination of being impeded at the start while coming off an 11 month absence due to an injury.

Bruton Street-US' Snap Decision, trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Graham Watters, went to the lead in the Lonesome Glory as was more or less expected, and was expected to pull away on the turn and go on for the win as he did in the Jonathan Sheppard.

But instead it was rank outsider Noah and The Ark, trained by Todd McKenna and ridden by Harrison Beswick, was the one who swept to the lead on the turn and pulled away to win by 9 lengths, with Snap Decision holding on for second by 3/4 length over Ask Paddington, trained by Keri Brion and ridden by Danny Mullins.

The Mean Queen, trained by Brion and ridden by Parker Hendrks, was impeded by an outrider at the start, losing 6 or 7 lengths on the field but was quickly up close to the lead, went into the lead on the final turn and drew away to lead by a length, but Proven Innocent, owned by Bruton Street-US, trained by Fisher and ridden by Jamie Bargary, made a huge move on the final turn and just caught The Mean Queen to win by a head, with Howyabud, trained by Brion and ridden by Barry Foley, third, with Going Country fourth, giving Brion second, third and fourth but not the win she'd hoped for.


"SNAP WAS giving away a lot of weight," said Fisher.. "He'll run next at Far Hills."

Proven Innocent left nips The Mean Queen in Entenmann 1Proven Innocent, left, nips The Mean Queen in the Entenmann (Photo by Tod Marks)Snap Decision was giving 28 pounds to Noah And The Ark but the stakes at Far Hills is a weight for age, which will give Snap an even chance.

"It feels amazing," said McKenna. "I was just hoping to get a piece of the pie. "I'm going to watch it again to be sure it happened."

Noah And the Ark won two handicap hurdles in England in 2019 and two novice races in 2018 from 11 starts, came to this country in 2020, finishing sixth and seventh in his two races and then won a handicap at Camden in 2021.

Off that, he was hardly expected to beat multiple stakes inner Snap Decision.

"He won at the Colonial Cup last year, and he was a little funny in front after that race,"said McKenna of Noah And the Ark. "He spent a year running around a 10 acre field, and then I brought him back to training. I took him fox hunting and took him to gallop at all the tracks that we could find. I wanted to run him once before this, but I couldn't find a race for him."

"He'll go to Far Hills," said McKenna. "That will be a good spot for him. He'll like that track too."

"Snap gave a fine account of himself," said Charlie Fenwick who, along with Mike Hankin and Charlie Noell make up the partnership of Bruton Street. "Snap was giving 18 pounds to everyone and 28 pounds to the winner."

Novice startThe outrider on the right cuts right in front of The Mean Queen at the start of the Novice Stakes."The Mean Queen gave a very good account of herself also," said Fisher."She's been away from the races for 11 months."

This was the second time Proven Innocent had gotten up in the last stride to eke out a win, having done just that in an allowance race at Saratoga on Aug. 31.

"Proven Innocent has given us a lot of fun," said Fenwick."It's always fun to win races, but to win the way he has for his last two races is a little nerve-racking. We're very fortunate to have two nice horses."

"The Mean Queen ran a gallant race, and I'm super proud of her off an 11 month layoff," said Brion. "But the start was atrocious and an absolute disgrace. An outrider rode across the course directly in front of her and cut her off which caused her to lose four or five lengths at the start. There should have been a stewards' inquiry and there was nothing. If that were a flat race and something went wrong in or out of the gate there would have been. People wagered on the race, and that is not fair for anyone."



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