Northern Afleet's resilient 4-year-old colt War Story earned his first stakes victory in Saturday's $125,000 Queens County S. at Aqueduct in front-running style.
War Story was on the 2016 Triple Crown trail, where he placed in all three graded stakes Kentucky Derby preps on the Louisiana circuit. He is now 4-3-2 in 16 starts.
After two tough contests in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) and Cigar Mile (G1) over the past two months, War Story found a more generous spot in the Queens County. With Tony Gallardo aboard, War Story was sent to the front going into the first turn. After six furlongs in 1:13.42, War Story began to pull away from the field, widening through the stretch to win by an emphatic 7 3/4-lengths in 1:52.56 for the 1 1/8-miles on the inner dirt course.
"There wasn't a lot of speed [in the race]," said Gallardo. "He was ready. I tried to be aggressive and go to the lead. Nobody really came from behind."
"This is a really good horse," said winning trainer Mario Serey, Jr. "I trusted him. In his last couple of starts he's had a little bad luck in his races and it was a bit of a tough spot but we were confident coming in knowing his ability and Anthony did a great job today."
The victory boosted War Story's career earnings to $559,395 for owners Loooch Racing Stables, Glenn K. Ellis, David Weaver, and Imaginary Stables.
Northern Afleet's brilliant stud career now numbers 74 black type winners. He's enjoyed particularly excellent results in 2016, with three Grade 1 winners and six graded winners overall this year.