Skychai Racing's Da Big Hoss left the starting gate at nearly even money in Saturday's Grade 3 American St. Leger, and he proved a deserving favorite, crossing the wire 1 3/4 lengths in front. The 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid covered 1 11/16 miles over Arlington Park's turf course, upgraded to “good to firm” conditions, in a final time of 2:49.47 under Florent Geroux for trainer Michael Maker.
“He just loves to win,” Geroux said. “He always finds a way to find the wire and it doesn't matter where he is, when you ask him to go, he goes.”
Geroux was able to work out a perfect trip on Da Big Hoss, who has won three of his last four races. The pair sat outside rivals in the better part of the track in fifth for the early going, tracking the pace of O'Prado Ole on the front end. O'Prado Ole led through fractions of :24.57, :50.96, 1:16.26, and 1:42.51 while two lengths in front of Wasir, with Billabong tracking from third. Then it was a six-length gap back to Tobias and Da Big Hoss.
Approaching the far turn for the second and final time, Wasir took over the lead as both Billabong and Da Big Hoss made their moves around the outside. Da Big Hoss quickly dispatched his rivals, racing away down the lane to score easily by 1 3/4 lengths. Clondaw Warrior was making up ground late to finish second, while Wasir was relegated to third.
Bred in Kentucky by Gary and Mary West Stables, Da Big Hoss was a $50,000 claim by Maker and Skychai in June of 2015. Since then, he has racked up victories over various marathon distances, improving his overall record to 11 wins from 20 starts, with earnings of nearly $1.2 million.
“His pedigree and his looks gave me the impression [he would like marathon races],” Maker said of Da Big Hoss.
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