By Dick Jerardi
Parx jockey Andrew Wolfson has ridden in six stakes at Aqueduct. He has won three of them and none of those winners were close to favored. There was 44-1 Mandate in the 2021 Artie Schiller, 10-1 Repo Rocks in the Toboggan last month and Sunday, it was 27-1 Cairo Sugar in the $100,000 Maddie May for Parx trainer Alan Bedard. The trainer has started four horses at the winter Aqueduct meet. Three of them won, including 13-1 Jonny Quest in a $14.000 claimer on Saturday.
So why exactly was the Bedard-Wolfsont combo the longest price in the six-horse Maddie May field? Well, Cairo Sugar was jumping from a maiden win to a stakes. But so was second choice I’mhavingamoment who had actually beaten Cairo Sugar when breaking her maiden Dec. 30. Les Bon Temps, favored at 11-10, had won two New York bred stakes so she made sense as the favorite. So Cairo Sugar did not figure to be one of the top betting choices. But 27-1?
Wolfsont was thrilled when he was able to clear the field from his inside post. Cairo Sugar did the rest, holding off the early speed of Luna Loca and then repelling a strong-looking late bid from Les Bon Temps to win the 1-mile race by 1 1/4 lengths.
“I was hoping to hit the board as the longest shot on the board,” Wolfsont said. “We had the rail so the plan was to get a good break and if they let me have the lead, I was going to take it.”
Wolfsont thought the filly just to his outside, Luna Loca, had a bit more speed, but once he got even with her not long after the break and it was evident jockey Jose Gomez was content to sit second, Wolfsont did not wait around.
“I just opened up about a length and a half and felt so comfortable sitting out in front,” Wolfsont said. “It felt like she was just skipping over that track. When we turned for home, I asked for a little bit more and they couldn’t catch her.”
Bedard could not give enough praise to Wolfsont. The jockey was in Texas for the weekend with family, but flew into Kennedy Airport Sunday morning for the ride on Cairo Sugar at nearby Aqueduct.
“Andrew’s done a great job for us lately, great percentages with us, always gives our horse a shot whether we are a longshot,” Bedard
Bedard changed the bit and the blinkers on Cairo Sugar because the filly had been bearing in during the stretch run. Cairo Sugar needed a shoe repair in the paddock before the race. There were no issues during the race as Cairo Sugar ran straight and true in the fastest race of her career, improving her best Beyer figure by 10 points to a 73.
“Cairo Sugar has just been tremendous for us since she got here,” Bedard said. “Hats off to the owner AP Stable and Randy Knerr. He does a tremendous job doing his homework and buying these diamonds in the rough at the sales.”
Cairo Sugar was purchased for $6,000 at a Saratoga Yearling Sale. She began her career at Penn National last fall with trainer Bruce Kravets before coming to Parx and Bedard following her second race.
A daughter of Cairo Prince, there is every chance that Cairo Sugar could also take to the grass so that could be in her future. Whatever the future holds, Cairo Sugar’s six-race career has been excellent so far with $123,107 in earnings and who knows how much more down the road.