Favored War Pass made it consecutive front-running victories for the favorites in the day's 2-year-old races. The son of 1994 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Cherokee Run romped home in his fourth successive victory.
Pyro ran on to capture the place slot, followed distantly by Kodiak Kowboy third and Tale of Ekati fourth.
Nick Zito trains War Pass for longtime client LaPenta. War Pass scored in Belmont Park's Champagne Stakes (gr. I) by 1 1/2 lengths over Pyro three weeks ago.
"He is an incredible horse," Zito told ESPN. "He was all after-burners. He just doesn't want to get beat."
War Pass broke alertly for Cornelio Velasquez from his two-post and quickly grabbed a relaxed lead, with Salute the Sarge and then Globalization trying to keep up early. As they reached the backstretch, it was evident War Pass would be in contention. After turning in fractions of 22.76, 45:56, and 1:09.65. War Pass seemed very comfortable. He moved away from his field by the second turn, widening to three lengths, and led by nearly double digits in the stretch. War Pass stopped the timer in 1:42.76.
“My horse had a lot of speed," Velasquez said. "He wanted to go to the lead. At the quarter-pole, I asked and I had a lot of horse in the last part of the race.”
"He just kept going," Zito said. "I was very surprised we got away from Globalization. I had a feeling he’d (Globalization) go for us, but we beat him at Saratoga. He couldn’t outrun us there. He wasn’t going to outrun us today.”
Out of the Mr. Prospector mare Vue, War Pass was bred in Kentucky by Cherry Valley Farm. He was a $180,000 Keeneland yearling purchase. He has banked $1,397,400.
War Pass, who earned $1.08 million for his victory, returned $6.40, $3.80, and $2.80 as the 2-1 favorite. Pyro, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, was good for $4.60 and $3.60, while Kodiak Kowboy, with John Valezquez aboard, paid $6.40 in the show slot.
“It was a huge effort and he didn’t even handle the track," said Bridgmohan of Pyro.
Z Humor ran fifth, followed by Old Man Buck, Overextended, Shore Do, Salute the Sarge, Wicked Style, and Globalization.
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