NEW YORK — Tasso, the 1985 2-year-old champion, opened his 3-year-old campaign Saturday with a three-length victory in the $55,000 Manassa Mauler Stakes at Aqueduct.
Ridden by Eddie Maple and carrying 122 pounds, Tasso covered seven furlongs in 1:23 4-5 on a fast track to record his sixth victory in eight career starts. Lil Tyler, co-high-weighted at 122 and ridden by Jorge Valasquez, was second, a nose ahead of Riomundo, at 115 and ridden by Buck Thornburg.
Tasso raced just behind Phantom Pharaoh and Lighten My Pocket, who battled for the lead through the stretch. There, Tasso took over and gradually increased his advantage.
Tasso, who paid $3.20, $2.80 and $2.40, earned $33,000 for owners Gerald Robins, Tim Sams and Will Farish.
Laffit Pincay was scheduled to ride Tasso, but trainer Neil Drysdale, concerned that the horse might be scratched because of rain, called Pincay at home in Los Angeles Friday and told the jockey not to make the 3,000-mile flight.