Stronach Stable earned its third grade II win of the day when 12-1 Euchre beat 18-1 Sultry Substitute to the wire in the $150,000 Bel Air Handicap (gr. II) Saturday at Hollywood Park. Earlier in the day, Perfect Sting won the New York Handicap (gr. IIT) and Milwaukee Brew the Ohio Derby (gr. II) under the Stronach Stable silks. Euchre paid $25.80, $11.60, and $4.40 across the board. Sultry Substitute returned $15.60 and $5.20, and third-place River Keen $2.80. The winning $1 exacta combination, comprised of the longest prices on the board, paid $87.70.
Over a fast track, Euchre pressed the early pace set by Peach Flat, took the lead at the top of the stretch, repulsed a challenge from River Keen, and held off Sultry Substitute in the final stages to win by 1 1/4 lengths. He completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.76 with Alex Solis in the irons. River Keen finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Sultry Substitute in third place, followed by Prime Timber, Crows, Patience Game, and Peach Flat.
"I wanted to be second or third (early on), but River Keen didn't break and I was happy to be chasing (Peach Flat)," said Solis. "I just tried to be patient and save as much as possible for the very end."
Euchre (Personal Flag--Solid Eight, by Fit to Fight) was bred in Ontario by Frank Stronach and is trained by Bobby Frankel. He earned $90,000 for the win, his fourth in 10 career starts. Previous to the Bel Air, Euchre won an optional claiming race at Hollywood Park in May in which Sultry Substitute finished second. As a sophomore, he finished third in both the Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales. (Chart, Equibase