Mavericking Best in Buck's Boy Handicap

STICKNEY/CICERO - - Contested concurrently with the Breeders' Cup Saturday program, the $100,000 Buck's Boy Handicap was originally carded for the grass course but was taken off the grass following mid-week rains.  An original field of ten scratched down to five, and from the rail out they were FEAR THE KITTEN, LUV BANDIT, DAD ARE WE HERE, MAVERICKING, and LASSELL.  All five would travel a mile and a sixteenth on the dirt.

A cloudy and seasonable early November day gave way to drizzle just before the race, taking a track that had been rated "fast" and having it rated "wet fast" for the Buck's Boy. (It would be rated "good" then "muddy" later in the card.)

Of the quintet, MAVERICKING would break awkwardly at the start, but LASSELL would break alertly from the outer-most box.  LASSELL would dart out to the lead, setting slow splits of :26.36 and :51.38 for the opening quarter and half-mile.  Close behind was LUV BANDIT, who moved from a pressing position to the lead at the three-quarter call.  With three-quarters clocked in 1:15.58, he had the lead at the top of the stretch.  MAVERICKING moved on the outside four wide, DAD ARE WE HERE moved three wide at the top of the stretch.

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MAVERICKING goes last-to-first in the Buck's Boy Handicap. Photo courtesy Four Footed Fotos.

MAVERICKING, an Illinois-bred four-year-old by Empire Maker, would get up for the victory by a length and three-quarters.  MAVERICKING would earn the victory for jockey Seth Martinez and trainer Roger Brueggemann.  Brueggemann would win two on the day.  MAVERICKING was the 5/2 second choice and rewarded his backers to the tune of $7.40.

LUV BANDIT, the 11-10 favorite, was second and a length clear of three-wide rallying DAD ARE WE HERE.  Three-quarters of a length behind the top three was early pace-setter LASSELL.  FEAR THE KITTEN completed the field.

Winning rider Seth Martinez commented post-race that the turf-to-dirt surface switch "worked out good for us, the horse won. When I went to shift him out at the top of the lane he kind of lugged in at the same time I wanted to shift out and he kind of caught that heel."
Martinez's agent, John Suwanski, was "excited it got rained off the turf and we here hoping COALPORT would scratch out [which he did]." The plan for MAVERICKING was "to get him to relax, to make one run."
Winning trainer Roger Brueggemann felt MAVERICKING "handled the mud all right." Post-race plans for the Buck's Boy Handicap winner, per the trainer, have him put away for the winter and aimed to a winter/spring campaign in the south at either Oaklawn or Fair Grounds.
Suwanski also told "Picks and Ponderings" that his rider, Seth Martinez, would ride at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas for the winter once Hawthorne's Fall meet concluded.

The $2 8-2 exacta of MAVERICKING and LUV BANDIT paid $9.30.  The fifty-cent 8-2-3 trifecta of MAVERICKING, LUV BANDIT, and DAD ARE WE HERE yielded $9.85.  Dime superfectas with #9 LASSELL in the fourth slot returned $6.56.
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