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Moon Over Aqueduct: Big day produces 2 new stakes winners

December 12, 2009

Rodman earns 103 Beyer in Queens County (G3) romp / Adam Coglianese photo

Leading sire Malibu Moon continues to close out what has been a tremendous 2009 season, as on Dec. 12th he picked up two new stakes winners by siring a sweep of the pair of stakes on the Saturday program at Aqueduct.

Rodman, a 4-year-old colt, led the way with a powerful front-running win in the $107,500 Queens County H. (G3), while earlier on the card the 4-year-old filly Life At Ten captured the $67,000 Snit S. Both were making their respective stakes debuts, and the wins give Malibu Moon 14 stakes winner and eight graded stakes winners now in 2009.

Rodman’s career has taken off in recent months and now he is a leading handicap horse in New York after Saturday’s performance, as the flashy chestnut colt romped to a one-sided front-running victory. The final margin was 5 ¾ lengths in the 1 3/16-mile event, and the final time was 1:57 flat over a fast local main track, earning him a career-high 103 Beyer Speed Figure for the performance.

Trained by Michael Hushion, Rodman defeated a solid field including the highly regarded runner-up Researcher, the post-time favorite in the Queens County. Since arriving at Aqueduct, he has now won his second straight race in dominating fashion, as in his previous start he won an allowance race by 7 ¾ lengths and earned a 102 Beyer. The Queens County was Rodman’s first try beyond a mile, and it clearly looks like he has found a home going classic distances.

“We knew he was going to be a little strong,” Hushion said. “You can see the way he acted in the paddock. When he’s on it, he’s on it. Especially the last couple of races when he’s run so good, he’s really touted himself.

“These late developing horses are great; they’re fun, and it looks like he’s got some more fun in front of him. I would consider (the Donn Handicap (G1), at Gulfstream Park, Feb. 6); why not? It’s time to step up, I think.”

Out of the Affirmed mare Crystal Gem, Rodman has now won five times from a dozen starts with earnings of $200,552 for owner Barry Schwartz. Four of those wins have come in his last six starts, and he lost by just a nose in one of those six starts. He was bred in Kentucky by David E. Hager II.

Life At Ten used a stalking trip to overtake the pacesetter and prove best in the stretch of the Snit S., winning the 1 1/16-mile race by 1 ¾ lengths to start off the great day for her sire. The final time was 1:45.30 in recording her first stakes win, which also earned her a career-high Beyer of 87.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Life At Ten now owns a record of 3-5-1 from 10 starts with earnings of $150,267 for owner Cynthia DeBartolo. Nickelback Farm bred the chestnut filly in Kentucky from the Rahy mare Rahrahsixboombah.

The 14 stakes winners again marks the fourth straight year Malibu Moon is the leading son of A.P. Indy at stud in that category.