Nicky the Vest Becomes Runhappy’s First Stakes Winner With Gander Romp

Nicky the Vest, an impressive debut winner in December at Aqueduct, proved that no effort was no fluke with an authoritative romp in the New York-bred Gander S. Sunday at the Big A, becoming the first black-type winner for Claiborne Farm’s Runhappy (by Super Saver) in the process.
Unveiled as an 11-2 proposition against Empire-bred foes over track and trip Dec. 18, the $110,000 OBS October grad shook off some early pace pressure and kicked away to a 3 1/4-length score. Hammered late to go off as the clear favorite here, the bay badgered frontrunning Lobsta through splits of :23.61 and :47.17 and poked his head in front passing the three-furlong pole. Creeping clear approaching the lane, he made a break for it three-sixteenths out and never faced an anxious moment from there, cruising home under wraps as a much-the-best winner. Lobsta, a full-brother to 2020 Gander winner Chowda, did well to hold the place in a three-way photo.
“We were very pleased with him. He trained that way leading up to it and it’s always nice to see what you’re seeing in the morning replicated in the afternoon,” said winning trainer Jonathan Thomas. “We felt we needed to get him out of there. His stamina is a key strength of his and we didn’t want to get him in behind horses and have him take dirt. That’s an unknown variable with him. We didn’t want to do that today, so we planned on being aggressive.”

Asked about a potential start in the GIII Gotham S. Mar. 6 at Aqueduct, Thomas added, “Because we gave him 60 days between his maiden win and this start, I’d feel comfortable we could contemplate that. But we’ll leave that up to the team.” Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
GANDER S., $100,000, Aqueduct, 2-14, (S), 3yo, 1m, 1:37.94, ft.1–NICKY THE VEST, 118, c, 3, by Runhappy1st Dam: Tazarine, by Cat Thief2nd Dam: Doppio Espresso, by Java Gold3rd Dam: Eastern Dawn, by Damascus1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN. ($110,000 Ylg ’19 OBSOCT). O-Robert V.LaPenta; B-Highclere (NY); T-Jonathan Thomas; J-KendrickCarmouche. $55,000. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $93,500.*1/2 to Moms Choice (Kitten’s Joy), SP, $269,234. **First SWfor sophomore sire (by Super Saver).2–Lobsta, 118, c, 3, Emcee–Salty Little Sis, by Chief Seattle.O-Eddie F’s Racing; B-Fedwell Farms (NY); T-Gary Sciacca.$20,000.3–Perfect Munnings, 123, c, 3, Munnings–Our Perfect Ten, byMedaglia d’Oro. ($50,000 Ylg ’19 SARAUG). O-JP Racing Stable;B-Tammy & Robert Klimasewski (NY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.$12,000.Margins: 11 3/4, HF, NO. Odds: 1.15, 5.90, 2.65.Also Ran: Dancing Buck, Horn of Plenty, Uno, Re Created.

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