Gunpowder Farms' Dalarna rallied from last in a seven-horse field to gain the lead in deep stretch and outkicked 4-5 favorite Let's Get Loud by a nose to win the third running of the $100,000 English Channel for 3-year-olds on Sunday at Belmont Park.
In his stakes debut, Dalarna stayed well off Fact Finding's pace, going a quarter-mile in in 23.39 seconds and the half in 46.89 on the Widener turf. Out of the turn, Fact Finding maintained the lead before Dalarna, under a strong ride by jockey Nik Juarez, closed in from the outside. With Let's Get Loud challenging in the final jumps from the inside, Dalarna completed one mile in 1:34.15 for trainer Kelly Rubley in a blanket finish.
Dalarna, who went off at 19-1, won for the third consecutive time after needing five races to break his maiden. The K One King colt registered his second consecutive win by a nose in a successful first appearance at Belmont.
“He's been showing us that that's what he wants to do,” Rubley said. “We tried him a little closer to the pace and that was a disaster. He just really needs to get covered up and settle, and once you get him out in the clear, he just keeps coming.
Juraez, who rode Dalarna to victory on September 9 at Monmouth Park at one mile, said he wanted to be judicious in picking his spot.
“There was some speed in there and Kelly's and my game plan was to get him covered up and make one run and it worked out perfectly It was a perfect trip,” Juraez said.
“Me and Javier [Castellano, aboard Let's Get Loud] were galloping out together and he asked me, ‘Did you get it' and I said, ‘I don't know,' I thought maybe the inside horse [Harlan's Harmony], in the last second, he jumped up as well. I didn't know I had him, I was just looking at the screen on the way back.”
Dalarna paid $40.40 on a $2 win bet. The Kentucky homebred nearly doubled his career bankroll to $127,540.
Let's Get Loud fended off Harlan's Harmony by a nose for runner-up status. The Chad Brown trainee, who entered on a two-race winning streak, was also making his stakes debut.
Harlan's Harmony, at 34-1 for trainer John Terranova, finished in the money for the first time in his last six starts, all against stakes company.
Fact Finding, Lunaire, No Dozing and Souper Tapit completed the order of finish.
Bird's Eye View was scratched, as were main track only entrants Hammerin Aamer, Sonic Mule and You're to Blame.
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