Completing 1 1/16 miles on the ‘yielding’ grass in 1:41.93, Red Giant won for the first time since taking the Virginia Derby July 21 of last year as a 37-1 longshot. The son of
Stalingrad, who took over at the top of the stretch and seemed to be on his way to an upset victory, settled for second under Channing Hill. Thorn Song was a neck in front of Distorted Reality, also trained by Pletcher, for third.
“There is no question that he is a quality horse,” Pletcher said. “We weren’t concerned about him not being good enough in a spot like this. Our concern was that he hadn’t run in awhile. He had an ankle issue that flared up on him last year. We gave him plenty of time for a summer campaign. I had entered him in an allowance race that didn’t fill. We nominated him to this race as a back-up plan.”
For most of the Fourstardave, it was Inca King who led the way under Shaun Bridgmohan. The 4-year-old Sir Cat gelding burst to a seven-length advantage after a quarter-mile in :23.95. He continued to lead comfortably through the backstretch as Thorn Song,
It wasn’t until they straightened away that
“I had a good trip,” Velazquez said. “He broke sharp and I sat against him. I just bided my time with him, and tried to follow the next horse (
Pletcher said Red Giant may be pointed toward the $200,000 Bernard Baruch (gr. IIT) Aug. 23 on Travers day.
Going off as the 4-1 third choice, Red Giant paid $10.60, $6.10 and $3.70. The exacta (1-6) was worth $175, while the trifecta (1-6-4 ) returned $677.
Red Giant, who was bought for $350,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale, is out of the Kingmambo mare Beyond the Sun.
Inca King finished fifth, followed by War Monger, Elusive Fort, Prince Rahy and Danak.