NEW YORK (AP) Salutos Amigos unleashed an electrifying rally Saturday to defend his title in the $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct.
The early trailer in the 11-horse field, Salutos Amigos angled widest of all turning for home and surged through the lane with Cornelio Velasquez aboard to beat Always Sunshine by 2 1/2 lengths.
It was a dazzling display by the 6-year-old gelding, back in New York after running second a pair of stakes at Santa Anita for trainer and co-owner David Jacobson.
Salutos Amigos, now 4 for 4 over Aqueduct's winterized inner track, was never worse than third in last year's Tom Fool victory.
This was a dramatic, yet successful, change of tactics.
''I was a little surprised,'' Jacobson said when asked if he expected the horse to drop so far back. ''That was the plan. We wanted to get him back to making one big run that he does so well. Speed is real good at Santa Anita and we were laying a little close. It kind of backfired a little bit although he did run very well out there.''
Salutos Amigos improved to 11 for 37, giving Jacobson a third straight Tom Fool victory. He won this race with Strapping Groom in 2014.
The time was 1:10.17 for six furlongs on the fast track.
Salutos Amigos, the 7/5 favorite, paid $4.80, $3 and $2.70.
Always Sunshine returned $7.80 and $5.30.
Stallwalkin' Dude, also trained by Jacobson, paid $6 to show.