Classic Endeavor, a $50,000 claim two starts ago by trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., won the $109,900-added Stuyvesant Handicap (gr. III) for fun Saturday at Aqueduct Park.
The 6-year-old Silver Buck horse, ridden by Edgar Prado, won his fourth straight race. He took the lead in the 1 1/8-mile Stuyvesant soon after the start and dictated the pace. He opened up a three-length advantage without urging at the quarter pole and won while geared down for Prado in a time of 1:49 3/5 on a track rated "good."
"He went nice and easy. He did everything on his own courage," Prado said.
Colita, who closed from the outside for jockey Rafael Bejarano after falling back along the inside on the far turn, settled for second, 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner. Snake Mountain (Jose Santos) finished third, 4 1/4 lengths behind Colita, with Country Be Gold (Pablo Fragoso) fourth in the field of seven.
Powerful Touch, the 3-2 favorite ridden by Jorge Chavez, faded after racing three wide into the stretch to finish sixth.
"I had him in a good spot," Chavez said. "When I asked him, I thought I had a chance to get to the winner, but I had nothing."
Classic Endeavor, who set moderate fractions of :24 1/5, :48 3/5, 1:12 4/5 and 1:37 1/5, won for the 15th time in 55 career starts.
He also won his first start since being claimed from Scott Lake Aug. 1, romping in an optional allowance/claimer Sept. 29 at Belmont Park while drifting out badly in the stretch for new owners Sullivan Lane Stable, Vincent Scuderi and Hollow Farm.
"After his last race, when he got out so bad, my doctor found some muscle tears in his hind end and he fixed them up," Dutrow said. "I had no question that he was going to turn into a different horse. And, we saw that today. Edgar (Prado) never asked him for any run in the first part. He was just naturally there.
"He had an easy lead, and looked like he was going to be tough to beat when they turned for home. I saw the other main dangers riding their horses, and I said `Man, this looks good.'"
Making his first start in graded company since finishing last of eight, beaten 31 lengths, in the Aqueduct Handicap (gr. III) Jan. 17, he pushed his career earnings to $647,893. The winner's share Saturday was $65,940.
The winner paid $8.60, $3.80 and $4.50. Colita returned $3.80 and $3.50, completing a $28.80 exacta. Snake Mountain's show was $5.80.
Kissin Saint scratched.