Calumet Farm homebred English Bee earned his first stakes win on Saturday, out-kicking 2-1 favorite Real News to win by a half-length under jockey Jose Ortiz. The 3-year-old son of English Channel, conditioned by Graham Motion, was sent to post at odds of 9-2 after a disappointing fifth in his first start in stakes company. Racing a mile over Pimlico's firm turf course, English Bee covered a mile in 1:35.60.
“He broke really well. He was up front in the race,” said Ortiz. “For a 3-year-old lightly raced in the game he's very professional. He put me into a great spot and when I asked him to go, to push the nine at the 3/8ths-pole and then he ran very well. He's certainly moving forward. He's a big, strong colt.”
Real News shot out to the lead, flanked by Thomas Selby through early fractions of :24.65 and :48.70. English Bee was tucked in behind rivals in third, with Tybalt on his outside holding him against the rail.
Rounding the far turn, Tybalt dropped back and allowed Ortiz to swing English Bee three-wide to make his challenge. Real News had a solid one-length lead at the head of the lane, but English Bee ranged up to his outside and looked him in the eye.
English Bee was game through the length of the stretch and hit the wire a half-length ahead of Real News. Real News never stopped trying but was second-best on this day, finishing 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Shootin the Breeze. Current checked in fourth, followed by War Film, Gearhead, Tybalt and Thomas Selby.
Bred in Kentucky by his owner, English Bee is out of the graded stakes-placed Kitten's Joy mare Evil Kitten. The colt won on debut at Presque Isle Downs, then placed in a pair of allowance races on the turf at Keeneland and Gulfstream Park. He won his fourth start, a one-mile turf allowance at Gulfstream, but ran fifth by 1 1/4 lengths to next-out G2 American Turf winner Digital Age in the listed Columbia Stakes at Tampa. Overall, English Bee has won three of his six starts to earn $120,000.
“I think he was really unlucky in his last race at Tampa,” Motion said. “He kind of got stopped coming off the turn right when he went to make his move. We all decided to wait for this race. He's a real pro. He hasn't done anything wrong. Glad to start off with a win. I haven't looked much beyond this race but I think distance won't be a problem.”
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