Mandate made big waves on Saturday when the gelding became BLAME’s 38th stakes winner with a victory in the Listed Artie Schiller Stakes at Aqueduct.
Racing a mile on the turf, the 4-year-old was content to race in near last position five paths off the rail down the backstretch. As they approached the far turn, jockey Andrew Wolfsont let his mount advance as he piloted him closer to the rail for the final run.
Approaching the final quarter mile, Mandate was asked for his best and he soon responded. The gelding dug in down the stretch to power to the front with just under half a furlong left to run.
With Wolfsont urging him on, Mandate pulled away to win by 1 ¾ lengths and give trainer Robert Johnston his first career stakes victory with WAR FRONT’s Flavius in third .
“This is amazing,” Johnston said. “We work hard every day. I’ve been in the business since I could walk. My dad was a trainer and this is amazing being here and watching these guys that I’ve looked up to all my life. I told my boss, ‘You got me up against all these big guys!’. I’ve been with Mr. [Bruno Schickedanz, the horse’s owner] all my life. I ran his farm for eight years, so this is great to do together.”
Winning his fifth race in 18 starts with four other second place finishes, Mandate now has $238,420 in earnings.
Bred by International Equities Holding, he was a $200,000 yearling purchase by Michel Stinson from Gainesway. Mandate is one of three winners out of Bonnie’s Empire, who is a half-sister to Grade 2-placed Blushing Bear. Mandate’s fourth dam is the successful broodmare Amelia Bearhart, who produced champion Chief Bearhart, and Grade 1 winner Explosive Red among her five stakes horses.
Amelia Bearhart is also the granddam of four-time Grade 1 winner Private Zone and Grade 1-placed Mr. Z.
It was a big day for BLAME when the victory was followed up with juvenile filly Tonito’s finishing second in the Listed Desi Arnaz.