Edgewood Farms' multiple graded stakes winner Pollard's Vision, ridden by John Velazquez, challenged the 1-2 favorite Badge of Silver and Jerry Bailey in the stretch and drew away to a 1 1/4-length victory under a brisk hand ride in Saturday's $242,500 National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Pollard's Vision, the second choice in the field of four at odds of 2-1, completed the 1 1/18-mile journey in 1:49. The winner received two pounds from Badge of Silver, who toted 120.
"What can I say, it worked out perfectly," said Velazquez. "The two speed horses went after each other. I was a little closer than I thought I would be up the backside, then I swung him out and got busy on him. Once I got him in the clear he started rolling. From then on it was all his."
The millionaire Pollards' Vision, a 4-year-old Carson City colt, won last year's Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Hawthorne. He finished fourth, nearly seven lengths behind Badge of Silver in their last start, the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) at Fair Grounds March 12.
Saturday, he stalked Badge of Silver from off the rail while close to the leader through fractions of :23 2/5, :46 1/5, and 1:10 2/5. Velazquez angled the dark bay three wide turning for home, and they soon challenged on the outside, prevailing with style. He paid $6.40 and $2.10. Badge of Silver, who won the Hal's Hope (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park in his start prior to the New Orleans, returned $2.10.
"He handled the track just fine," said Bailey of the favorite. "Our chances were compromised by the fast pace and the pressure from Lord of the Game. We got in a little tight in the stretch but we weren't really bothered. The rider did what he was supposed to do. That's what I would have done."
Pollard's Vision, who won three other graded stakes as a 3-year-old, improved to 6-6-3 in 20 lifetime starts with earnings of $1,275,311, after collecting Saturday's $150,000 purse.
Lord of the Game, who pressured Badge of Silver early, finished third, and Freefourinternet trailed throughout. Seek Gold scratched.