California invader Black Seventeen overcame a stumble at the start but managed to wire the field in the $300,000 Carry Back Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) for 3-year-olds on "Summit of Speed" day at Calder Race Course.
The six-furlong event was run over a main track upgraded to “good” from its earlier “sloppy” designation. Black Seventeen, ridden by Clinton Potts, prevailed by one length over Teuflesberg who provided pressure throughout most of the race. Yesbyjimminy finished third, four lengths behind the winner.
Black Seventeen, the narrow favorite, and Teuflesberg were both sent off at 7-5 odds and their performances accurately reflected the evenly matched nature of the wagering. Habitual front-runner Black Seventeen broke last from the gate but was still able to come through for the early lead within a furlong or so from the start. Teuflesberg, who captured the Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park from well behind last time out, stayed closer to the pace Saturday, sitting in third position early before drawing up within a half-length of Black Seventeen around the far turn.
With Black Seventeen being pushed along by Potts and Teuflesberg seemingly moving more comfortably under Robby Albarado, it appeared that the race was Teuflesberg’s for the taking. Black Seventeen, under strong handling from Potts, refused to let his rival by, however, and actually extended his lead to a full length at the wire.
Co-owner Brian Koriner was the winning trainer for Wind River Stables and Janet Lyons. The six furlongs was completed in 1:09.84 following quarter-mile splits of :21 3/5 and :44 2/5.
“I knew Teuflesberg wasn’t going to go away, so my horse really had to gut it out all the way," Koriner said. "He showed his gameness. Was I worried about the rain? A little, yeah, but I bought him out of the sale here as a 2-year-old, so he already had been over this track and I think that was a little advantage.
“The Breeders’ Cup (Sprint) will be a big consideration for us, but we’ll see how some of these other horses, like Smokey Stover, run. Short term, we’re looking at the King’s Bishop (gr. I).”
The King's Bishop is on Aug. 25 at Saratoga at seven furlongs.
Black Seventeen, a Florida-bred chestnut colt by Is It True--Fuzzy Navel (Strike the Anvil), returned $4.80, $2.80, and $2.80. Teuflesberg paid $2.60 and $2.60, and Yesbyjimminy returned $3.40 to show.
Black Seventeen is now four-for-six lifetime and a perfect four-for-four at the six-furlong distance. The Carry Back, his first race outside of Southern California, pushed his career earnings to $285,360. Saturday's victory was worth $178,560.
Marilyn Lewis and Robert and Saronda Smith bred Black Seventeen, a $150,000 Ocala 2-year-old purchase in February 2006.
“The only time this horse has been (well) beaten was going two turns in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), but I don’t think he was ready for the distance yet that day, so you can’t really judge his distance capability based on that one," Potts said. "The track is very fast right now from the rain tightening it up, so that explains the quick fractions, but this is a superstar type of horse.”
Pop Goes the Tiger finished fourth, followed by Rather Clever, Finallymadeit, Fate Takes a Hand, Indian Ashton, and Jeronimos Storm.