Peter Brant's Demarchelier, named for the French fashion photographer, handled a stretch out in distance and a step up in class, overtaking Clint Maroon in deep stretch and fending off Seismic Wave's challenge before the wire to capture the fifth running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Pennine Ridge for 3-year-olds on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Demarcheiler stayed off the early speed as stablemate and fellow English-bred Value Proposition led the seven-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 24.53 seconds, the half in 49.27 and three-quarters in 1:12.98 on the firm inner turf.
Demarchelier, who won each of his first two starts at 1 1/16 miles for trainer Chad Brown, was set down by Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano in the stretch, gaining command in the final furlong.
Seismic Wave, who Demarchelier bested by a head in his debut on November 21 at Aqueduct Racetrack, gave a strong challenge under jockey Joel Rosario from the outside, but the Dubawi colt completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.20 to improve to 3-for-3.
“I didn't expect it to be such a slow pace like that. The way I handicapped it, there were a couple of horses that could get a good pace and it would be good fractions,” said Castellano, who has been aboard for all of Demarchelier's victories. “The way my horse did it was very impressive. He finished very well. He's a young horse and still learning.
“Mr. Brown did a great job managing the horse,” he added. “You can see his first two races were a mile and a sixteenth. Today, he stretched out to a mile and an eighth, and he handled it so well. With a slow pace, he finished really well. He's going in the right direction and has a good mind. He's going to be good in the future.”
Off at 5-1, Demarchelier returned $12.40 on a $2 win wager. He improved his career bankroll to $188,520 and will now target the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational on Stars & Stripes Day on July 7 at Belmont. The 1 ¼-mile Belmont Derby is the first leg of the New York Racing Association's Turf Triple series, which also includes the Grade 1, $1 million Saratoga Derby on August 4 and the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Derby on September 7 at Belmont.
“He ran great. Javier just bided his time back there and the race setup pretty well for him,” Brown said. “The fractions weren't really strong, but he was able to close down the center of the track and get up in time.
“After he broke his maiden we had mapped out a plan to get to the Belmont Derby and fortunately it looks like the plan is coming together. He's a really top-quality colt. Obviously well-bred and well-ridden each time. It's exciting to have a horse headed to that big race.”
Seismic Wave, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, was coming off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 American Turf on May 4 at Churchill Downs and finished one-length ahead of 5-2 favorite Social Paranoia for second.
“It was a fine trip. He broke well and I just found myself at the back,” Rosario said. “He came with a nice run. I thought for a second we were going to catch Javier, but that horse just kept on going. It was a good run.”
Henley's Joy, Clint Maroon, Magnificent McCool and Value Proposition completed the order of finish. Swamp Rat was scratched.
Bred in Great Britain by Newsells Park Stud, Demarchelier is out of the unraced Sadler's Wells mare Loveisallyouneed. He was a $592,486 yearling purchase at Tattersalls, and broke his maiden at first asking in November of his juvenile season. Back to the races in April at Keeneland, Demarchelier won again, and the Pennine Ridge improved his overall record to three wins from three starts and earnings of nearly $200,000.
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