Praise the Prince Jumps to Victory at Belmont

Praise the Prince Jumps to Victory at Belmont
Photo: AP/NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Praise the Prince jumps the final fence ahead of Pelagos to win the Meadowbrook Steeplechase.
Press Release From NYRA
Augustin Stable's Praise The Prince rebounded from a neck loss in his last start to get back on the winning trail Thursday afternoon, outlasting Pelagos for a head victory in the third running of Belmont Park's $107,100 Meadowbrook Steeplechase at two and a half miles over national fences.

Trained by Sanna Neilson, the 6-year-old, New Zealand-bred gelding came wide to engage Pelagos, who had taken the lead from Dynability, with two fences to go. The jumped in tandem and Praise The Prince appeared to begin to draw off. But then Pelagos surged once more only to come up short as the winner hit the wire in 4:49 1/5. He returned $3.70.

"He's lovely horse, but a small horse," said winning trainer Neilson. "He's got the heart of a horse that is 18 hands (tall). We tried a different tactic today by dropping him back. We figured with the longer race, it would help. Plus, he loves to run at horses. It was a great ride by Gus (Brown). We'll freshen him up now and point him toward Saratoga."

Since May of 2000, Praise The Prince has won seven of 10 starts with three seconds. His victory on Thursday, the seventh of his 23-race career, ended trainer F. Bruce Miller's streak of two wins in the Meadowbrook. Miller trains Pelagos.

The change in tactic worked to perfection and probably helped Praise The Prince escape trouble when Maxi Tune fell and unseated jockey Cyril Murphy late in the race.

"I had him covered up behind horses, then I swung him out," said winning jockey Gus Brown. "If I had stayed behind, I would have probably gone down, too. (In the stretch) he just swelled up in the bridle. Today, he was real settled early, like he was in Louisville. He didn't settle as well at Pimlico. In the stretch, the other horse (Pelagos) kept bumping into me. My horse will idle when he gets to the front. Sometimes, I take this horse for granted. I think he is just a good horse. But then you look at his form, and you say, `He's a great horse.' He's two necks and a nose from being undefeated in his last 10 starts. He tries harder than any horse I've ever ridden."

War Talk, Flasher, Dynability, Tre Touche, Bien Allure and Park Debut completed the order of finish.

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