The 4-year-old Langfuhr gelding proved a determined winner for jockey Jon Court. He wrestled the lead away from the dangerous Silent Name only a furlong from home, and staved off the desperate late charge from Zann, who had bullied his way between horses in the lane and came up just short under Garrett Gomez. The first two finishers each carried 115 pounds.
Lang Field, who likes to run on the front end, fought Court defiantly as the jockey held him mid-pack in the early going. The son of Langfuhr settled down while tracking the pacesetting Willow O Wisp and Silent Name into the final turn of the nine-furlong test. Rounding the bend, Silent Name went for an early run and gradually edged away from the field in the stretch before tiring a bit late. Lang Field took advantage of the opportunity to collar Silent Name, and kicked all out in the final strides to land a major win for trainer Art Sherman, who earned his second lifetime grade I victory.
In a tight finish, Proudinsky was a half-length behind Zann in third with Silent Name a head back in fourth. After fractions of :23 1/5, :46 2/5 and 1:09 3/5, the final time was a solid 1:39 3/5.
"He was anxious to mix it up early, but then he settled down real nice," Court said of Lang Field. "He was on his game today. When they challenged him, he really showed he's a fighter."
Owned by Nigel R. Shields, the gray Lang Field snapped a four-race losing streak. He had won three in a row over allowance company earlier this year before stepping up into stakes competition. Lang Field was coming off an encouraging third-place finish in Oak Tree's one-mile War Chant on the Santa Anita turf on Oct. 13, a race in which Court was able to get his charge to rate.
"He showed me a new dimension last time out," Court said. "He didn't run through the bridle like he did in his previous races. He was very comfortable sitting and he made a little run so I knew that he no longer had to have that one style."
Alan Sherman saddled Lang Field for his father, Art. Lang Field improved his career record to 6-4-3 in 20 starts while bumping his earnings to $422,993. The Citation victory was worth $240,000.
Freddy Lewis Jr. bred Lang Field, who is out of the Metfield mare Out Field, in Kentucky.
The winner paid $39.60, $12.80 and $6. The late-running Zann came up just short again for trainer Michael Machowsky, returning $4 and $2.40 while completing a $145.20 exacta. Grade III winner Proudinsky, ridden by Rafael Bejarano for trainer Bobby Frankel, appeared to have every opportunity but had to settle for third, paying $3.20.
"I got caught up in a little bit of traffic around the three-eighths pole," Gomez said in describing Zann's trip. "I wasn't losing any ground from where I was at, but I just had to wait until I could start making some kind of a run. He hit kind of a flat spot at the eighth pole. He was making up ground, but he didn't have that next gear."
Silent Name, who carried highweight of 117 pounds, was followed by Crested, Palace Episode, Visa Parade, Independent George and Willow O Wisp.
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