by NYRA Press Office
ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Linda Rice and jockey Jose Ortiz featured prominently on the New York Racing Association’s Big Apple Showcase Day with three wins each, including a pair of stakes wins, on the Memorial Day holiday card.
The 11-race all New York-bred slate included six stakes races worth $900,000 in purses, highlighted by the $200,000 Commentator and $200,000 Critical Eye.
Rice picked up wins with Blindwillie McTell in the $125,000 Mike Lee and in the $125,000 Bouwerie with the undefeated Newly Minted. The three-time leading trainer on the NYRA circuit also captured a turf allowance on the undercard with the promising Elektronic.
Ortiz guided Blindwillie McTell to a stalking score in the Mike Lee and also piloted Gucci Factor to a mild upset in the $125,000 Kingston. The eight-time leading rider on the NYRA circuit also piloted Kept True to an allowance score on the undercard.
“This is a terrific day in racing for New York and for New York breeders, and I think the fans really enjoy it too,” said Rice.
Jerold Zaro’s homebred Blindwillie McTell captured the first leg of the Big Apple Triple with a prominent score in the Mike Lee, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds on the dirt.
The Posse gelding, out of Bold Child, broke sharply under Ortiz but settled in second position as Le General marked opening fractions of 22.84 and 45.80 seconds. At the top of the stretch, Blindwillie McTell took command as Le General began to give way.
Funny Guy and Bankit made late-charging bids on the outside, but could not reel in Blindwillie McTell who found a good rhythm to notch a two-length win in a final time of 1:21.53. Funny Guy completed the exacta, a neck in front of Bankit. Stone Breaker was scratched prior to the start after not warming up well.
The New York-based Rice enjoyed a similarly successful Big Apple Showcase Day last year and said she is excited at upcoming prospects for her two newest stakes stars.
“Last year, on this day, we won the Bouwerie with Midnight Disguise and we won the Critical Eye with Holiday Disguise and that was really special,” said Rice. “This year, it was two different horses, but two really nice horses that I’m excited about.
“One is a homebred of Jerry’s [Blindwillie McTell], and he only has one broodmare, so it’s pretty exciting to have a horse like this,” continued Rice. “The other is a filly I purchased a year ago [Newly Minted] at the 2-year-old sale at OBS in April and Chester Broman is the breeder. I think they’re two exceptional horses.”
Read the full article on https://www.nyra.com/belmont/news/rice-and-ortiz-take-a-big-bite-out-of-big-apple-showcase-day