Da Big Hoss settled along the hedge towards the back while My Afleet led the 12-horse field through an opening half-mile in 49.65 seconds and a mile in 1:39.65. Angled out in the final turn by jockey Florent Geroux, Da Big Hoss swept to the front in the stretch and proved the grueling two-mile distance to be a non-factor, drawing clear for his third stakes victory of the year.
The $165,000 winner's share of the purse buoyed Da Big Hoss' lifetime earnings to $1.02 million and gave his jockey his first win at Belmont Park since arriving from Kentucky on Thursday for the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.
“It worked out good. There was plenty of speed in front of us and I was able to save ground most of the way and I just tipped him outside and from there he just took me there,” said Geroux, a native of France, who plans to ride full-time at Saratoga for the first time this summer.
Sent off as the 2-1 bettors' choice, Da Big Hoss completed the route on firm turf in 3:17.29, a course record for the distance. The winner returned $6.40 for $2 win wager.
Coming off a half-length score in the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland in April, Da Big Hoss has posted six stakes wins since being claimed June 21, 2015 at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old chestnut son of Lemon Drop Kid has been ridden to victory by Geroux all three times this year.
Now We Can rallied to finish second, 3 ½ lengths ahead of Twilight Eclipse in third.
Closing Bell checked in fourth, followed by Belisarius, Up With the Birds, Silver Lime, Biz The Nurse, Kaigun, My Afleet, Tobias and Rum Tum Tugger to complete the order of finish. Tiz Town was scratched.
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