He might not have been quite as dramatic as Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and the USAir flight on the Hudson but "Hudson Heights" rose to triumph - and big payoffs - for those willing to think the unbelievable could happen.
This time it was Saturday Jan 2nd in Race 6 at Aqueduct Saturday
Hudson Heights returned $223 for a $2 win bet, the highest win payout at a NYRA track in more than a decade. On February 6, 1999, Barrier Free won the first race at Aqueduct and paid $338. The record for a win payout at a NYRA track ($434) was set by Markobob at Aqueduct on September 3, 1943.
Coupled with Assaf Ronen’s 29-1 winner Gold Vendetta ($60) in Race 7, an allowance contest, NYRA paid out a near-record $4,226 Daily Double on Races 6 and 7. The record was set August 27, 1945 at Saratoga Race Course when Buddie Bones and Junction City combined for a $4,313.90 Daily Double.
Trained by Colum O’Brien, Hudson Heights broke his maiden just six weeks ago at Finger Lakes and carried a 1-1-2 record from 14 starts into Saturday’s $17,000, six-furlong claiming race at Aqueduct.
Dismissed at the windows, the 4-year-old New York-bred son of Champali, out of the Chilean mare Super Blue, also surprised his connections.
“I gave him some time off last year,” O’Brien said of the colt, who made three starts over the inner track at Aqueduct last winter, finishing fourth, eighth and fifth. “His dam was a Group 1 winner in South America, but the offspring of the stallion haven’t done much. I brought him back for one start in Saratoga and then sent him up to Jonathan Buckley at Finger Lakes and he broke his maiden. I’ve only had him back for three or four weeks now.”
It would appear the ice-cold record of the trainer was more at fault then the horse: Hudson Heights gave trainer Colum O'Brien his first winner since Follow My Dream won the Perfect Arc division of the New York Stallion Stakes on Nov. 9, 2008. He went 0 for 51 during that span.