The victory earned Wicked Style, who is now 3-for-3 lifetime, a trip to the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.
Earlier in the week, trainer Rusty Arnold spoke of Wicked Style’s affinity for the Keeneland Polytrack. Although he had never raced on it, the Florida-bred colt did most of his training on the synthetic surface. In addition, Wicked Style won both his career starts on the Arlington Polytrack.
Under jockey Robby Albarado, Wicked Style, out of Trempolino mare Deviletta, jumped right to front and vied for the lead with Gold Train around the first turn. Unfortunately, Robert Lucas’ Gold Train suffered a leg injury in that pace battle and had to be pulled up. He was later euthanized due to a fractured right front leg. The injury left Wicked Style all by himself on the front end, setting easy fractions of :24.17, :49.64 and 1:14.65.
Slew’s Tiznow, Tend and Briarwood Circle all stayed just in back of Wicked Style, who carried a 2 1/2-length advantage as the field of 12 turned for home in the 1 1/16-mile event. But with Albarado keeping him tucked neatly inside, Wicked Style was never challenged in the stretch, pulling away with every stride as he reached the wire.
“He ran huge," said Albarado. "I told Jerry Bailey yesterday that I loved being on the outside because a lot of these two-year-olds haven’t seen a first turn that quick but this horse is quick enough where I can position him and I thought I could be in front. Most everybody takes back here, but with this colt I knew I had a chance to do it (go for the lead).
"This is a nice horse. If I had a better post, I could have settled him behind horses, but today it was either go or get hung wide. When he broke so sharp, that made up our minds to go."
Slew’s Tiznow was good enough to get second, while 25-1 longshot Old Man Buck made a late four-wide move and finished well for third. The final time was 1:45.21.
Wicked Style paid $24.20, $10.80 and $6.40. The exacta (12-6) paid $170.80, while the trifecta (12-6-9) was worth $3,455.60
Wicked Style is owned by Glen Bromagen’s Ashbrook Farm. He was bred by Adena Springs.
Betting favorite, The Roundhouse, finished sixth.