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Saturday, January 12
Affectionately, Zonk




JAMAICA, N.Y. -- Trainer John Servis said Zonk has always trained like a quality filly but on occasion has been a disappointment in the afternoon. That certainly wasn't the case on Saturday at Aqueduct in the $113,400 Affectionately Handicap.

Zonk was a one-length winner over People's Princess in the Grade 3 Affectionately. It was another 3 1/2 lengths back to Search Party in third in the 10-horse field of fillies and mares.

Richard Migliore was named on Zonk but was unable to ride the filly because he was delayed from returning from Saudi Arabia, where he had ridden on Friday. Chuck Lopez picked up the mount on Zonk, the 5-1 second choice.

Servis said he didn't want to bog down Lopez, who had never ridden Zonk, with instructions. But Servis did tell Lopez, "She's not the kind of filly who makes a big, explosive run; she's more like a horse who grinds it out."

Zonk proved Servis wrong with her strong move around the far turn in the 1 1/16-mile Affectionately. Zonk motored by pacesetters A.P. Andie and Tugger, and by midstretch Zonk had a clear advantage. People's Princess was running keenly as the wire loomed, but had too much to do to catch Zonk.

Tugger, the even-money favorite, was expected to shoot straight to the lead from her rail post, but she was unprepared for the start and got off poorly. Tugger quickly recovered to chase A.P. Andie, the pacesetter, through fractions of 23.60 and 46.44 seconds.

Tugger tired in the stretch and finished sixth, beaten 16 1/4 lengths by Zonk.

Jean-Luc Samyn, Tugger's rider, said the assistant starter was moving Tugger just as the gate opened. "She simply was not ready," said Samyn, who picked up the mount when Jose Velez Jr., like Migliore, was unable to get home from Saudi Arabia on time.

Zonk ($12.20) covered the distance in 1:42.58 over a fast track and carried 116 pounds, two less than the highweight, Tugger.

Lopez said Zonk lost some of her focus when she flew by the pacesetters and found herself alone on the lead. "She went by them and then she started playing, looking and carrying on. I just said, 'don't get beat now, Mama!' "

Zonk, a daughter of Farma Way, has earned $405,240 for Fox Hill Farms. Zonk's only other graded win came in last year's Grade 3 Delaware Oaks.

Servis said he had no specific plans for Zonk, whose home base is Philadelphia Park.

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