Maragh rallies with Invading Humor
ELMONT, New York (CMC): Jamaican jockey Rajiv Maragh produced a strong stretch run with 5-1 chance Invading Humor to win the US$125,000 John Hettinger Stakes at Belmont Park on Sunday.
In contention for most of the mile-and-eighth trip, the four-year-old filly faded slightly at the top of the stretch, but Maragh got the best out of her with a furlong to run and she ran by the leaders to reach the wire a length clear in a time of one minute, 49.47 seconds.
"I didn't ask her until I got to the stretch. I thought I still had horse, but until you let them loose, you never know. When I asked her to run, she just sprinted away," Maragh said afterwards.
"I hadn't ridden her in a while, but I won on her going a mile. This was only a furlong more and I thought she could handle it. Even through the wire, she kept on going," he added.
The win was the fourth consecutive one for Invading Humor, but her first added money success.
The 16-1 longshot Princess Mara set the early pace, posting fractions of 24.47 seconds for the quarter-mile and 49.37 for the half-mile, with Invading Humor glued to her flank on the outside.
They exchanged the lead, albeit temporarily after the half-mile, but were both led at the top of the stretch by Effie Trinket, as the horses turned for home.
However, Maragh rallied Invading Humor and she responded well along the rails, gaining ground quickly to reach the wire first.
Maragh's win was one of three on the 10-race card. He captured the opening race over 61/2 furlongs with favourite Shayjolie and followed up in race two by guiding 4-1 bet Desert Image to victory over the two-year-old fillies in a 51/2 furlongs sprint.