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Moon shines brightly in Excelsior

A tepid pace played a major role in the outcome of Saturday's $200,000 Excelsior H. (G3) at Aqueduct, as Albert Fried Jr.'s GIANT MOON (Giant's Causeway) tracked just behind Cool Coal Man (Mineshaft) as that one loped along through splits of :25 2/5, :50 3/5 and 1:14 3/5, then wore down that rival in the stretch to take the nine-furlong feature by a half-length in a time of 1:50 4/5 over the fast main track.

Giant Moon, the second longest shot on the board at 13-1, returned $29.40, $11.60 and $4.90. Cool Coal Man easily held second by two lengths at 3-1, returning $4.60 and $3.10. Barrier Reef (Mizzen Mast), the 6-5 favorite who trailed through the opening half-mile, lacked running room turning for home but did not offer much in the way of a rally while outfinishing the rest. He paid $2.40 and was 1 1/2 lengths clear of Atoned (Repent). The exacta paid $155.50, the trifecta $419.50, and the 8-6-1-7 superfecta was worth $1,671.

Following Atoned were Alaazo (A.P. Indy), Real Merchant (Chi) (Merchant of Venice), True Resurgence (Yes It's True) and Kurbat (Chi) (Mon Pote Le Gitan), who lacked a rally after stumbling badly at the start.

"We'll stay in the handicap division an look at races like the Suburban (H. [G2]) and races like that," winning trainer Richard Schosberg said. "He's gone Grade 3, now let's step it up to the next level."

The Excelsior was the first graded stakes triumph for Giant Moon, who was last of nine in the 2008 Gotham S. (G3), fourth in the Wood Memorial S. (G1) and eighth in the Preakness S. (G1) in his prior graded stakes appearances. However, the four-year-old has won three times in state-bred stakes and also counts a victory in the Count Fleet S. over Aqueduct's inner track last year. With this triumph, Giant Moon has now won $397,385 from a line of 10-6-1-0.

A homebred foaled in New York, Giant Move is out of the stakes-winning Moonlightandbeauty (Capote). She is also the dam of the unraced juvenile colt Moonlight Song (Unbridled's Song), a yearling colt named Piscesbymoonlight (Empire Maker) and a 2009 filly by Giant's Causeway. Giant Moon's second dam, Stolen Beauty (Deputy Minister), was also a winner over nine furlongs at Aqueduct in the 1991 Demoiselle S. (G2). This female family has produced the multiple Canadian champion Eternal Search (Ruritania), Grade 1 winners Joe's Tammie (Zoning) and Island Sand (Tabasco Cat), and current Grade 2 performer This Ones for Phil (Untuttable).


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