Stronach Stables' Ghostzapper unleashed a devastating stretch run to romp to a 6 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $500,000 Vosburgh (gr. I), missing the track record at Belmont Park by a fifth of a second.
The 3-year-old Awesome Again colt, with Javier Castellano aboard, completed the Vosburgh, contested for the first time at 6 1/2 furlongs, in 1:14 3/5, one tick off the track record set in the slop by New Farm's Confide in an Oct. 16, 1997 allowance. Aggadan, at odds of 63-1, was a distant second. Posse was third.
Ghostzapper, who closed from far back to finish third in Saratoga's King Bishop (gr. I), beaten by a half-length by Valid Video, won his first graded stakes race. He is lightly raced, having won four of six career starts.
Afterward, trainer Bobby Frankel would not commit to the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), saying he would speak to the owners, including Frank Stronach about it. Stronach is the founder of Magna Entertainiment Corp., which owns Santa Anita, the host track for the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup.
"It's a different story going three-quarters at Santa Anita with the dirt hitting him in the face," said Frankel, who won his 21st grade I race of the year.
"I'll have to speak to the owners and see what they have to say. He doesn't like dirt in his face, and at Santa Anita, they don't throw back sand, they throw back clods. We'll see how he comes out of the race. I could have three (for the Sprint): Ghostzapper, Aldebaran and maybe Midas Eyes, too."
That would be particularly welcome news for Castellano, whose Breeders' Cup luck
"I'm hoping to make my first Breeders' Cup with this horse," Castellano said. "I've had two opportunities to make the Breeders' Cup, but neither horse made it to the gate."
Saturday, the winner got some help from a quick pace.
Ghostzapper trailed the field of 10 by some 14 lengths down the backstretch as Voodoo went :21 4/5 for the opening quarter mile and :44 1/5 for the half. Castellano, wide throughout, guided Ghostzapper down the middle of the track for his run through the stretch as the bay colt blew past his rivals. Aggadan, ridden by Corey Nakatani, outlasted the tired front-runners, holding off Posse and Jerry Bailey off by 1 1/4 length.
Gygistar, the 8-5 favorite, tired after challenging for the lead briefly in the stretch and finished fourth.
"I was really surprised how fast he caught these horses," Frankel said. "He was 12 (lengths) out of it, and the next thing you know, that's him on the outside. I said, `How did he get there so fast?'"
"I told Javier (Castellano) not to worry about keeping close," Frankel said. "Let him drop back and make his run.
Gygistar's trainer, Mark Hennig, said, "He was trying to get it together along the rail, but the opening was getting tighter and tighter down the stretch. Johnny (Velazquez) thought if he could have gotten him out, he could have finished second. But don't take anything away from the winner. He ran incredible."
The winner, who is out of the Relaunch mare Baby Zip, earned $300,000 to push his career total to $406,1200.
Sent off at 3-1, Ghostzapper paid $8.20, $5.50 and $4. Aggadan returned $42 and $16.80. Posse's show price was $5. The $2 exacta was worth $380.50.