Sky Chai Racing’s distance specialist Da Big Hoss easily held back good-closing Clondaw Warrior to win the $300,000 American St. Leger (gr. IIIT) Aug. 13 at Arlington International Racecourse. Watch Video
A 5-year-old by Lemon Drop Kid ridden by Florent Geroux for trainer Mike Maker, Da Big Hoss won by 1 3/4 lengths and finished 1 11/16 miles in 2:49.47 on firm turf while sparking the first of a back-to-back graded stakes double for the Lane's End resident sire at the suburban Chicago track. In the following race, favorite Beach Patrol won the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) by a head in his stakes breakthrough.
Da Big Hoss earned a third straight win and fourth from five starts this year, including the listed Belmont Gold Cup Invitational Stakes June 10 and Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIT) in April in his two starts prior to Saturday's race. Claimed by trainer Maker for Skychai Racing for $50,000 last June, Da Big Hoss has since won six stakes races when stretching out beyond 1 1/4 miles, including four graded stakes wins. He took the John B. Connally Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) in January at Sam Houston Race Park.
Settled in fifth early, Da Big Hoss galloped along comfortably while O'Prado Ole opened a clear lead and ticked off fractions of :24.57, :50.96, 1:16.26, and 1:42.51 mile with Wasir in closest pursuit, about two lengths back. Wasir took charge briefly from the pacesetter with three furlongs to run but Da Big Hoss was ready to roll and shook off both to lead into the stretch.
Irish hurdler Clondaw Warrior outfinished Wasir for second by a neck.
“He just loves to win,” Geroux said. “He always finds a way to find the wire and it doesn’t matter where he is, when you ask him to go, he goes.”
Da Big Hoss returned $3.60, $2.60, and $2.10, Clondaw Warrior paid $5.20 and $3.40, and Wasir returned $5.80 to show.
Da Big Hoss, who has 11 wins from 20 career starts, was bred by Gary and Mary West Stables out of the winning Touch Gold mare Lady Struck Gold, who is from extended family as 2010 French Derby (Fr-I) and French Two Thousand Guineas (Fr-I) winner and young sire Lope de Vega.