Dazzling Pomeroy, ridden by Eibar Coa, scorched the field in the $200,000 Alfred. G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) on a hot day at Saratoga, the track where he won the King's Bishop (gr. I) last summer.
After being difficult to load, the Patrick Biancone-trained Pomeroy broke on top but was quickly hooked on the front end by I'm the Tiger. The pair put in some quick splits before Pomeroy pulled away at the top of the stretch and proceeded to win by four lengths. I'm the Tiger, with Robby Alberado aboard, held on for second over Voodoo and Javier Castellano, who tracked the leaders throughout. The final time for the six furlongs was 1:08 3/5.
"He ran big today," Coa said. "He really wanted to run. He felt great under me. I wanted to keep him happy, so I let him go and never did anything against his wishes. He just showed up today. All the other horses were speed horses as well, so I wanted them to chase him and let the best horse win."
The pace was a good one – :21 3/5 and :43 4/5 – but did not help the late runners. Pomeroy was cruising home without a danger by the time he reached the eighth pole.
"He's a very good horse," said Biancone, whose day got better moments later when he watched Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens guide Angara to a victory in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington Park. "He deserved to win. The track was really fast for him and he ran a big race."
Biancone said he would like to run Pomeroy in the Forego (gr. I) Sept. 3 at Saratoga with the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 29 to follow.
Pomeroy, a 4-year-old son of Boundary
-Questress (Seeking the Gold
), won for the second time in four starts in his career at The Spa to go with a pair of seconds in graded stakes races. His sixth win in 14 starts pushed his career earnings to $593,050 for owners Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.
His sire won the Vanderbilt in 1994 when it was known as the A Phenomenon.
Eight-year-old Peeping Tom, who fell way off the pace down the backstretch, finished fourth with Botanical fifth. Kelly's Landing, sent off as the 5-2 favorite off a track-record effort at six furlongs at Churchill Downs in June, was never a factor and finished sixth. Smokume, the Tom Fool (gr. II) winner on a sloppy track at Belmont last month, came home last.
One of three betting interests in the seven-horse field that were sent off at odds of 7-2, Pomeroy paid $9.40, $5.20, and $3.70. I'm the Tiger returned $9.30 and $5.50 while completing a $109.50 exacta. Voodoo's show was $4.90.
"He ran big, but was no match for the winner," said Albarado aboard the runner-up. "The winner was freakish. I was trying to give (I'm the Tiger) the best chance to win and I wasn't worried about the pace. With this caliber of horse, they can do that and keep going."