Distance-loving Destin, chiefly remembered for his nose loss to Creator in the 2016 Belmont Stakes, wore down pacesetting longshot Infobedad in a prolonged stretch battle to win the Grade II $200,000 Marathon Stakes at the seldom-contested distance of a mile and three-quarters on the main track Friday on the initial afternoon of the Breeders' Cup at Del Mar.
Destin, piloted by John Velazquez for owners Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and trainer Todd Pletcher, scored by a length and three-quarters over Infobedad, who went postward at 24-1 under Joel Rosario. Third in the field of eight older Thoroughbreds was the 9-5 favored Hard Aces, who flattened out after making a promising move on the far turn. Eight lengths farther back in fourth was Noble Nick.
Destin, a son of Giant's Causeway, accomplished the lengthy distance in 2:57.77, narrowly missing the track record of 2:57.40 set by Lurline B. in 1949.
The winner, a close second choice in the betting at 2-1, returned $6, $4.20 and $2.80 while taking first money of $120,000 with his fifth victory in 13 starts. He now has earnings of $938,000. Second-place Infobedad paid $21.80 and $9.20, while Hard Aces returned $2.40 to show.
JOHN VELAZQUEZ (Destin, winner) – “It went according to plan. We didn't think there was a lot of speed in the race. We thought we could sit up close. It came off just the way we wanted.”
TODD PLETCHER (Destin, winner) – “The horse ran very well. We got the trip we were hoping to get. We thought he could handle the distance and he did.”
FRACTIONS: :23.87 :49.06 1:14.26 1:40.31 2:05.97 2:32.06 2:57.77
The stakes win was the first ever at Del Mar for rider John Velazquez.
The stakes win was the first ever at Del Mar for trainer Todd Pletcher.
The owners are Twin Creeks Racing of Steve Davison and Randy Gullatt and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners of Aaron Wellman.
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