The sprinter Silver Train made short work of the field in the $150,000 Jerome Handicap (gr. II) at one mile for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park Sunday, going gate to wire while pulling away from favored High Fly in the late stages.
Edgar Prado opened up a two-length lead over the field shortly after breaking from the gate in the one-turn mile event. High Fly, who shifted to the outside down the backstretch for Jerry Bailey, challenged Silver Train on the turn. But Silver Train shook loose from High Fly coming into the stretch, going on to win by five lengths while kept to the task in 1:34 1/5 on a fast track.
Silver Train, who carried six pounds less than the 120-pound top weight High Fly, led through splits of :23 2/5, :46 3/5 and 1:10.
Prado was pleased with how sharp his mount broke and his fighting spirit to the wire.
"I thought I was going to chase High Fly every step of the way," Prado said.
Richard Dutrow Jr. trains the Kentucky-bred son of Old Trieste for Buckram Oak Farm.
"Things just went his way today," Dutrow said. "He was sitting on a race. He broke real sharp, and no one wanted to run with him. He assumed the lead, and Edgar was just sitting on him. When the other horses came to him, he had horse.
"I'm thinking about running him back in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. If I know for sure he would get in, I wouldn't mind sitting on him until that race. He can sit behind speed and make that one run. Horses like that win the Breeders' Cup Sprint. I don't know if he has the talent to run with that kind sprinting, but now is the time to take a chance. He likes the track, and he's doing good."
The TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) is Oct. 29 at Belmont.
Silver Train, who was coming off a third-place finish behind Santana Strings in Saratoga's Amsterdam (gr. II) Aug. 7, won his first graded stakes race.
"He must really love this track," Dutrow said. "I really liked him in his last race. He was training good in Saratoga but, when he ran, I have never seen a horse hit (his legs) like that. You could see we had hit patches on him in the paddock. He must not have liked the track at Saratoga."
Sunday's one-mile event was Silver Train's longest since he finished fourth in last autumn's Champagne, beaten by 13 1/2 lengths by Proud Accolade.
Silver Train, a $140,000 Fasig-Tipton buy in July 2003, won for the third time in 10 starts and pushed his earnings to $204,945. He previously won a first-level six-furlong allowance race at Belmont by 6 3/4 lengths in a time of 1:07 3/5 July 2, prompting his connections to send him to the Amsterdam.
Joe Mulholland Sr. and sons bred Silver Train, who is from the Cormorant mare Ridden in Thestars.
Florida Derby (gr. I) winner High Fly was making his first appearance since back-to-back 10th-place finishes in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (both gr. I) for trainer Nick Zito.
Naughty New Yorker, ridden by Jean-Luc Samyn, closed to finish third, 7 1/4 lengths behind the winner.
The second choice in the short field of six, Silver Train paid $6.90, $3.30, and $2.70. High Fly returned $2.90 and $2.40 as the 6-5 favorite. Naughty New Yorker's show was $3.20.
Sir Greeley, Better Than Bonds, and Awesome Twist trailed.