Although ridden hard out of the gate just to stay in touch with a blistering pace (:21 3/5, :44 1/5), Bill Place dropped back to last of the six-horse field after a half-mile. With patient handling on the far turn, jockey Cornelio Velasquez bided his time and saved ground until swinging Bill Place out at the top of the stretch.
“He broke a little slow,” Velasquez said. “(Wollaston Bay) bumped my horse. I just took him back. At the three-eighths pole I asked him and I had a lot of horse.”
The win was the fourth to go with three seconds from seven career starts for Bill Place, a Master Bill gelding who broke his maiden at Suffolk Downs and was claimed in his second start for $50,000 by Anthony Dutrow. He has successively moved up in company, though, having won two stakes races in his last three starts. The Bay Shore was his first start in a graded race.
Michael Dubb, Sanford J. Goldfarb, and Cast of Characters own Bill Place, who nearly doubled his earnings to to $181,042. John S. Scott bred the winner, who is out of the Out of Place mare Magical Place, in Florida.
“He ran great,” Dutrow said. “Things really didn’t go his way, but he showed a lot of heart and courage. He finished up real well.”
Hobbitontherocks made an early move to the lead on the far turn under Alan Garcia and although he stayed on well after being passed by the winner, settled for second. Favorite Les Grands Trois (3-5), was third after a troubled start, beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Hobbitontherocks.
“I got squeezed coming out of the gate,” jockey David Flores said of Les Grands Trois. “But after that me and the winner were right together. I got through perfect, he just got a little but flat in the end. No excuse.”
Dutrow said he would likely keep Bill Place in races at six or seven furlongs, but deadpanned, “but what do I know?”
Under clear and cold skies, Bill Place stopped the clock in 1:22.99 on a fast track and returned $7.50, $3.80, $2.20. Hobbitontherocks, ridden by Alan Garcia, paid $9.90, $3.70 while Les Grand Trois returned $2.10 to his show backers.
Pass the Punch finished fourth, followed by Indian Camp and Wollaston Bay.