Edmund A. Gann's Peace Rules gamely outdueled Funny Cide and then held off Newfoundland to win Saturday's 118th running of the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park in New York.
Peace Rules jumped out to the early lead, getting the first quarter mile in :23 4/5 and the half in :46 1/5 as Funny Cide stalked from the rail while closely followed by Newfoundland as they got three-quarters of a mile in 1:09 1/5.
Funny Cide, the 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner, then took a narrow lead from the rail under jockey Jose Santos as Newfoundland also progressed strongly. While it looked as if Peace Rules would be no better than third, the 4-year-old son of Jules battled back gamely and posted a neck victory over Newfoundland. Funny Cide held on for third as they completed the 1 1/4 miles in 1:59 2/5, 1 1/5 seconds slower than the track record.
Peace Rules paid $8.40, $5.40, and $4.10, with Newfoundland returning $8.40 and $6.20. Funny Cide paid $4.40 to show.
In posting his ninth victory in 18 starts, Peace Rules earned $300,000, increasing his career earnings to $3,080,528. Previous to the Suburban, Peace Rules won the New Orleans Handicap and Oaklawn Handicap, both grade II races, before finishing fourth in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
"He ran a great race," said Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who won the Suburban in 1970 with Barometer. "He is game. He trained well over this course. I always thought he could get a mile and a quarter."
Frankel said that Peace Rules would be pointed toward the $750,000 Whitney gr. I) at Saratoga on Saturday, Aug. 7.
"He was giving me everything, so I went to the large hand ride," Bailey said. "I don't know if that helped or the horse creeping up on the outside, but we discussed leaving the rail open, so when he got attacked, it wouldn't be from the outside. I didn't know if that was the wise thing to do as we approached the eighth-pole -- it looked like Funny Cide getting through was going to beat us. But Peace Rules has always been a fighter, very courageous."
"He is one of the most honest horses out there," said trainer Barclay Tagg, of Funny Cide's effort. "It was a nice, dry day and the humidity was down. We were right here."
Colonial Colony, the 62-1 upset winner of the Stephen Foster, was fourth, with 2002 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Sarava fifth.
Favored Dynever ran sixth, defeating only Bowman's Band and Devil Time
"I don't really have any excuses," said Corey Nakatani, Dynever's jockey. "I thought we would be all right. He felt like he was getting good footing. I finally got him going good down the backside. He was moving, but the winner ran a big race, no question. I thought we had a legitimate shot. He usually gets up underneath them and goes through the race. But today, he was struggling. Hopefully, he'll do better next time."