Big Bend added a third consecutive win to his record on Thursday, powering to a 3/4-length victory over Nessy in the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland. Drayden Van Dyke took the son of Union Rags off the early leaders, rounding five wide on the final turn and got control around the sixteenth pole, holding off Nessy in the late stages of the race.
Tom Proctor trains Big Bend for Union Rags Racing LLC. The 3-year-old came to the race off a win in the Dueling Grounds Derby listed stakes at Kentucky Downs, and an allowance optional claiming contest at Delaware Park in July.
Big Bend is out of Broad Brush mare Lenatareese and was bred in Kentucky by Daniel Burke and Kathleen Schweizer. He was a $105,000 yearling purchase by Union Rags Racing from the Keeneland September Sale, where he was consigned by Blackburn Farm.
Canessar (FR) finished third. The final time for 1 1/2 miles on firm turf was 2:33.24. Big Bend paid $39.00 to win. See the full chart here.
Post-Race Quotes, courtesy Keeneland press office
Braxton Lynch (winning owner of Big Bend): “He's been a mile and a half before (when he won a July 13 allowance at Delaware Park). We just figured out this might be his distance. Drayden (Van Dyke) rode him excellently.
“First time against older horses, so we didn't know what to expect. We're very pleased.”
Drayden Van Dyke (winning rider): “He doesn't have to be on the lead to win, and he stepped it up today. He sat, relaxed and when he needed to run, he took off. What else can you ask for?”
Brian Hernandez Jr. (rider of runner-up Nessy): “We had a great trip from the 12 hole. We followed the winner the whole way. I wish I wouldn't have followed him the whole way – I wish I would have gotten by him but it didn't work out. We were able to save ground on two of the three turns. We were five wide on the final turn but that kept us clear of the traffic. He had a clean, fair trip and he responded. We were second best today.”
Ian Wilkes (trainer of Nessy): “We are very proud of him. He is getting better. No thoughts on where he will run next, but I definitely want to keep him at 1½ miles on the grass.”
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