Stradivinsky took advantage of the favorite being knocked out of contention early in the race, as the 7-year-old gelding scored his first graded stakes win in the $200,000 Jaipur Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) July 17 at Belmont Park.
Claimed from his last race for $50,000 by Michael Dubb, Stradivinsky won for the fourth consecutive time while earning his biggest payday to date. The son of Stravinsky was ridden to victory by C. C. Lopez for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., who saddled the bay for the first time.
The complexion of the six-furlong turf sprint changed just a couple steps after the field of six broke from the starting gate when 6-5 favorite Formidable
stumbled after being pinched and threw rider Lose Lezcano to the ground. That left Stradivinsky alone on the lead, though the riderless Formidable continued to match strides with the pacesetter.
Stradivinsky had a clear lead over the rest of the field after running a quarter mile in :22.49 and a half mile in :44.41. He took a commanding six-length advantage into the stretch and was never seriously challenged in the final furlong. Yield Bogey
rallied well late under Jean-Luc Samyn, but it wasn’t nearly enough to catch the winner, who hit the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front in a final time of 1:07.74 on a turf labeled firm.
was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third with Channing Hill aboard.
"I’ve been back riding for less than a month (since I was injured earlier in the year) and this is my first winner at Belmont," Lopez said. "He broke really, really well and I didn’t realize that there was a loose horse until I saw him inside of me going to the half-mile pole. I said to myself ‘well, I can’t let him get in front of me because I don’t know where he’s going to go after he gets in front of me.’ So, I pinched him a little bit to get him out of there and from there my horse ran his eyeballs out, he really did.”
Stadivinsky was claimed out of a May 27 turf sprint at Churchill Downs, a race he won by 2 1/4 lengths as the even-money favorite while being trained by Larry Rivelli for Richard Ravin. Earlier in the season he had won claiming events at Gulfstream and Arlington.
In 2007, Stradivinsky notched his only previous black-type win in the Jacques Cartier Stakes on the Woodbine Polytrack. Overall, he has won 13 of 32 starts and has earned $508,837.
After the race, Dutrow said he has big plans for his newest stakes winner.
“He loves running fresh, and C.C. gave him a great ride," he said. "This horse runs well with spacing and he likes Churchill Downs, so we’ll run him one more time and then point to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.”
The winner, who is also owned by Michael Mandato and Bethlehem Stables, was bred in Florida by Live Oak Stud and is out of the Apalachee mare Lubicon.
Stradivinsky paid $6.90, $4.40, and $3.80. The exacta (4-1) returned $45.60 and the trifecta (4-1-2) was $292.
Our Friend Harvey was fourth, followed by Perfect Officer, and Escrow Kid.