Effinex takes Aqueduct's Excelsior Stakes; Wicked Strong 3rd

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NEW YORK — Effinex pulled a 6-1 upset Saturday for trainer Jimmy Jerkens in the $200,000 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct.

That Jerkens won the race was not a surprise as he sent out 3-5 favorite Wicked Strong, last year's Wood Memorial winner.

After pressing the pace set by Red Rifle, Wicked Strong settled for third.

The victory went to his overshadowed stablemate who earned his first stakes triumph against open company.

Most of Effinex's success before the Excelsior had come in races restricted to New York breds, including the Empire Classic last fall at Belmont Park.

In the best effort of the 4-year-old's career, Effinex rallied from fifth with an explosive move on the final turn and wore down a game but tiring Red Rifle. He won by three quarters of a length in his second start of the season.

"We thought if we gave him a late spring campaign, we would give him his best shot to become a better horse, because he had run pretty hard last year," Jerkens said.

As for Wicked Strong, Jerkens said: "He'll be back."

Effinex earned $120,000 for Tri-Bone Stables with his fifth victory in 14 starts, paying $14, $5.60 and $3. Angel Arroyo was aboard for the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.16 on the fast track.

Red Rifle returned $6.40 and $3.40, while Wicked Strong paid $2.10 to show.

Micromanage was fourth followed by Turco Bravo and Stormin Monarcho.

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