Aztec Sense Wins Turning for Home

Media Contact:
Keith Jones

For Immediate Release: Saturday, June 23, 2018


Joseph Besecker’s Aztec Sense took command coming off the final turn and then drew away in the last furlong to win the $100,000 Turning for Home Stakes by three and a half lengths Saturday afternoon at Parx. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the race was the centerpiece of an afternoon dedicated to the Turning for Home program, the racing industries leader in finding and providing new homes and new careers, having now placed over 2,500 retired thoroughbred race horses.

Coming off three consecutive front running victories, Aztec Sense, a 5 year-old gelded son of Street Sense, was expected to be on or near the lead again. However, with a quartet of others all being aggressive in the run to the first turn, winning jockey Paco Lopez instead opted to take back with Aztec Sense, sitting in the clear and fifth on the outside in the opening stages. He wouldn’t stay there for long. Entering the backstretch, Aztec Sense made a sudden move and quickly went from fifth to second just to the outside of early leader, Thirtysilverpieces with about five furlongs to run. Long shot Moon Gate Warrior (34-1) was also making an early move up the backside, slipped through on the inside of Thirtysilverpieces nearing the half mile pole and took charge after an opening half of 48.83.

Moon Gate Warrior and Aztec Sense remained one-two racing to the far turn, beginning to get some separation on the rest of the field. Aztec Sense moved to engage the long shot leader midway on the final turn and was roused to the lead at the head of the stretch. Quickly moving clear, Aztec Sense never seemed fully extended through the last eighth of a mile and cruised home a solid three and a half lengths in front.

The win was the fourth straight for Aztec Sense. Since being claimed for $12,500 out of a start last October by trainer Jorge Navarro, who also won the Turning for Home last year with Maritime Pulpit, Aztec Sense has won five of six and is now a multiple stakes winner. Saturday he was sent off as the heavy favorite at 3-5 and paid $3.40, 2.40 and 2.10. Moon Gate Warrior was making his first start after a $5,000 claim by trainer Lou Linder and ran big in defeat, 12 lengths clear for second, returning 21.60 and 11.00. Ruby Bleu (9-1) out finished the others for third and paid 4.60 to show. The final time for the one mile and one-sixteenth on a track labeled good was 1:47.53.