Michael Gill's Bay Eagle just lasted to upset 1-2 favorite Jaki's Magic in the $50,000 Daniel Van Clief Stakes for Virginia-breds at Colonial Downs on Saturday.
Bay Eagle dug in to prevail by a nose in the 1 1/16-mile event in 1:45.31 on the firm turf after Jaki's Magic made a determined bid after being outrun early. Rahy's Chance closed belatedly to be a non-threatening third.
Bay Eagle broke alertly from the extreme outside and was send to the lead by jockey Enrique Jurado. Racing with blinkers on, Bay Eagle cleared as the field hit the first turn and Jurado was able to slow down the pace to a reasonable opening quarter of :24.39. Bay Eagle continued to gallop along on the lead through a half in :48.57 as Jaki's Magic began to advance from fifth.
As Bay Eagle approached the far turn Jaki's Magic took up the chase on the outside, advancing to within 1 1/2 lengths of the lead. Bay Eagle crossed the six-furlong fraction in 1:12.81 with Jaki's Magic in hot pursuit. But Bay Eagle spurted away from the favorite exiting the turn and opened up a five-length lead in upper stretch.
Jaki's Magic finally found his best stride in midstretch as Bay Eagle began to shorten stride.
The win was Bay Eagle's first at Colonial. The 6-year-old Secret Hello gelding was second in the 2001 Virginia Derby here. The Van Clief win gave trainer Phil Schoenthal the lead in the trainer standings. Schoenthal has 15 wins on the meet. Jonathan Sheppard is next with 14 wins. Defending champion Hamilton Smith has 12.