Making his first start since setting a world record in the Grade 3 Jaipur and stretching out to a mile for the first time in his career, Patricia Generazio's Disco Partner picked up his third consecutive win of the year capturing the $150,000 Forbidden Apple on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Breaking alertly from post 9 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard, Disco Partner stalked comfortably in third position along the rail as King Kreesa led the field of seven through fractions of 23.91 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and the half 46.84.
As the field turned for home, Disco Partner was angled out and set in a full drive at the five-sixteenths pole. Easily ushering past the leader, Disco Partner extended away in the stretch to secure the victory by 1 ¾ lengths.
He completed the mile on the firm Widener turf in 1:33.49.
“He's a nice horse and he has a good mind,” said Ortiz, “He broke good and he's there when you ask him. He waits until you need him at the end, that's his style. He can do anything; he can go a mile, he can sprint. I'm happy with him.”
Sent off as the 9-5 post-time favorite, the 5-year-old homebred son of Disco Rico returned $4.80 for a $2 win wager while boosting her career earnings to $651,810. He has remained unbeaten since transferring to the barn of trainer Christophe Clement following his 2016 campaign.
“We'll have to think about putting together a nice summer campaign,” said Clement. “I think he's top class. He's not Breeders' Cup eligible, so I'll have to speak with Mr. and Mrs. Generazio and we'll try to map out the next two to three starts for him between now and the end of the year and try to do the best we can.
“The choices are: do we run him right back in the Troy, do we go for the [Grade 1, $500,000] Fourstardave [August, 12]? Do we keep him at a one turn mile at [Grade 1, $800,000] Woodbine Mile [September, 16]? I'm not sure. I'll just have to think about it.”
Closing from mid-pack was Get Jets who finished second a neck a had of Bondurant followed by King Kreesa, Offering Plan, Cerise's Prince and Grand Arch completing the order of finish. Mr Maybe, Great Wide Open and Mohaymen were scratched.
Gary Barber's What a Catch started the day's stakes action in Race 3 with a gate-to-wire win in the fourth running of the $100,000 Rockville Centre for New York bred 2-year-olds on the main track.
One of two entrants for trainer Todd Pletcher, What a Catch dueled even-money favorite Morning Breez for the lead, setting fractions of 23.12 seconds for a quarter-mile and the half in 46.48.
Out of the turn, Hall of Famer jockey John Velazquez piloted What a Catch near the rail and outkicked Morning Breez down the stretch to complete six furlongs in 1:11.21.
“We came out running,” Velazquez said. “I thought the horse to the outside of me might make the lead, so I came out running to see what he is going to do. And then he sat off of me and that was perfect and I stayed in front of him. My horse seemed a little bit green, so it kind of helped him to have company. After that, I tried to get away from the horse at the quarter pole, tried to discourage the horse a little bit and I think it worked out.”
What a Catch's one-length win improved him to 2-for-2 in his career, with both victories coming on Big Sandy. The chestnut colt, who became the first winner for his freshman sire Justin Phillip with a maiden-breaking effort on June 2, went off as the 9-5 second choice and paid $5.80 on a $2 win bet, improving his career earnings to $97,200.
“I thought he was very professional,” said Byron Hughes, assistant to Pletcher. “He acted good in the paddock and post parade, broke sharp and fought off the second-place horse. He's always been pretty classy; a bit precocious 2-year-old. He's been benefitting from that and stepping up every time we've asked him.”
Morning Breez was the runner-up after winning his debut on June 23 for trainer Carlos Martin. Analyze the Odds, also for Pletcher, finished third in his first start since a fifth-place effort in the Tremont on June 9.
Morrison and Over Salty completed the order of finish. Lake Party was scratched.
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