Curtis C. Green's unbeaten homebred He's Got Grit took command shortly after the start and then ran away from his rivals in the stretch to score an 8 1/4-length victory in the $150,000 Sapling (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at Monmouth Park Saturday.
Diabolical, the 3-5 favorite in the 71st running of Monmouth's top event for 2-year-olds, took second by a nose over Confront.
The Florida-bred He's Got Grit, who warmed up for the Sapling with a victory in the Tyro Stakes over the track last month, raced the six furlongs over a fast track in 1:09 3/5. The son of Songandaprayer
, trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Aaron Gryder, paid $7.60, $2.60, and $2.20 across the board as second choice in the field of six juveniles.
Diabolical completed the $16.60 exacta and paid $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show. Confront, the third choice at 6-1, paid $2.40 to show.
It was the third straight victory without a loss for He's Got Grit, who broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in June before shipping to Monmouth for the Tyro. The gelding never left the issue in doubt as he controlled the race off fractions of :21 1/5 and :44 flat to open up by 5 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole.
"He's got a great stride," Gryder said of the winner. "I was comfortable the entire race. Confront came up to me, but turning for home my colt just accelerated and at the top of the stretch he drew off. When you have a nice colt like this, you just keep dreaming of bigger and bigger things."
Broadway Ridge finished fourth, followed by Caleb Pond and Ballado Dancer. The Village Vicar scratched.