(from Belmont Park release)
Centaur Farms' Distorted Reality did exactly what trainer Todd Pletcher hoped he would do Sunday afternoon, and the result was a half-length victory for the 2-5 choice over Buddy’s Humor in the $106,000 Lexington for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs on the firm inner turf course at Belmont Park.
After two failed tries on dirt, the homebred Distorted Humor colt was switched to the turf earlier this year and produced two impressive victories at Gulfstream Park and Keeneland. In both of those tries, he was equipped with blinkers.
In his next two races, he ran fifth in the American Turf (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs on a yielding course, and then followed with a runner-up finish in Belmont Park’s Hill Prince (gr. IIIT) on June 8. In both of those races, Distorted Reality was beaten little more than a length.
For the Lexington, Pletcher decided to race Distorted Reality without blinkers, hoping to harness his natural speed and allow him to relax.
As usual, Pletcher knew what he was doing.
Under jockey John Velazquez, Distorted Reality, biding his time and staying out of trouble on the outside, allowed Buddy’s Humor to set a pace of :24.84, :48.84 and 1:13.16 with Mission Approved right on his heels.
Distorted Reality made his move to the lead in upper stretch and won after a long drive in 1:48.45 for the third victory of his seven-race career. He banked $64,800 for the win and has earned $151,347.
“The early fractions weren’t really fast, but they came home pretty quick,” said Pletcher’s assistant, Tristan Barry. “He held on resolutely and got it done. He was more settled and relaxed today with the blinkers off.”
Distorted Reality returned $2.90, $2.40, and $2.10.
Buddy Humor returned $6.10 and $3.30 with Cornelio Velasquez aboard.
Perusal, Edgar Prado riding, was $2.50 to show.
Distorted Reality's cause was helped when Ambassador was scratched, leaving a five-horse field.
“He’s just got a lot of class,” Velazquez said. “The last time, he ran really hard. Today, with the blinkers off, he settled a little better. He punched when I needed him to.”
Pays to Dream and Mission Approved trailed.