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Mar 14, 2008

Visionaire surges to victory in Gotham Stakes


Ozone Park, NY (Sports Network) - Morning-line favorite Visionaire caught Texas Wildcatter at the wire to win Saturday's $250,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. The 1 1/16 mile Gotham is the final prep race for the April 5 Wood Memorial.

Racing in rainy conditions on a sloppy track, 6-5 favorite Saratoga Russell took the lead at the start and led the nine-horse field around the first turn and up the backstretch. Pressing the pace was Ling Ling Qi, Roman Emperor and Larrys Revenge.

Around the final turn Texas Wildcatter joined the leaders and took over first heading into the stretch. The colt appeared well in front approaching the finish.

Visionaire, with jockey Jose Lezcano, came storming down the stretch to catch the leader at the wire and win by a nose. Texas Wildcatter held on for second with Larrys Revenge third and Roman Emperor fourth.

"I knew there was some speed in the race, and I was in no hurry to ask my horse," Lezcano said. "My plan was just to make one move and come with a strong finish. I felt I had a lot of horse coming off the turn. I think he showed how good a horse he was today. He handled everything."

Rounding out the finish in the Gotham was Ling Ling Qi, Holidaze, Southern Terminus, Saratoga Russell and Giant Moon. Laysh Laysh Laysh was scratched from the original field of 10.

The final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:44.60.

Trained by Michael Matz of Barbaro fame, Visionaire earned $150,000 for the win. The chestnut colt has won three of five career starts for $228,260.

Visionaire, owned by Team Valor, was coming off a third-place finish to Pyro in the Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds. Pyro was entered in Saturday's Louisiana Derby.

Visionaire returned $11.00, $5.60 and $3.80. Texas Wildcatter paid $5.70 and $3.50, and Larrys Revenge paid $10.80 to show.

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