December 12, 2023
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – West Paces Racing, Brown Road Racing, Adelphi Racing Club, Shelly Hume and Russell Hume’s Constitutionlawyer is set for another try at his first stakes conquest in the $150,000 Queens County, a nine-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up, on December 31 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Ray Handal, the son of Constitution has posted back-to-back victories in optional claiming company at the Big A, taking a 10-furlong second-level contest on October 13 and following with a gutsy three-quarter-length score last out when cut back to one mile on November 26. The 4-year-old gelding was awarded career-high Beyer Speed Figures for the efforts, earning a 92 and a 94, respectively.
“All is great and I’m excited for his next start,” said Handal. “I think it’s been good that he’s gone through his natural progression in the conditions, and I think mentally, he seems like he’s there. Physically, he’s always shown a lot of talent, but he’s really putting it all together now and showing that killer instinct you want to see.”
Last out, Constitutionlawyer cut back to one mile for the first time since finishing fifth in a turf allowance this April. He tracked in fourth early under regular pilot Dylan Davis and was within 1 1/2 lengths of pacesetter Swiftsure at the half-mile call before going head-to-head with Daydreaming Boy in the turn and to the top of the stretch. The two dueled down the lane before Constitutionlawyer got the better of his foe just before the wire and posted the victory in a final time of 1:35.13.
To see replay on X click here.
“I was worried about the cutback; I can’t lie about that. But he took a step forward,” said Handal. “He’s in great form right now. I love how he lowered his head and really wanted to beat that horse last time. If he can keep getting better, who knows what the limit is? He’s got a tremendous amount of talent, the right pedigree, and he wants to go long. He’s got all the attributes.”
Since May, Constitutionlawyer has hit the board in 4-of-5 starts, his lone off-the-board effort a sixth in a July 21 optional claimer at Saratoga Race Course won by Bright Future, who exited that race to win the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at the Spa.
“He ran against Bright Future and so it wasn’t any slouches he was running against there,” said Handal.
Handal added he is looking forward to the stretch-out back to nine furlongs in the Queens County.
“Him being able to win at a mile gives him and all of us a lot of confidence,” said Handal. “I think he’ll be happier at nine furlongs, and he was pressed a little more early on last time. Good horses can overcome adversity, and you want to see a horse adapt like he did.”
Constitutionlawyer, who boasts a 17-4-1-3 record with just shy of $300,000 in total purse earnings, was purchased for $170,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and is out of the winning Lawyer Ron mare Lawyer Brockmeyer. His second dam is Ocean Ridge, who won the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin in 1996.