A case can be made for Chamberlain Bridge as the nation’s top turf sprinter right now, and he showed why with a gritty half-length victory as the 13-10 favorite in the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Handicap at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course July 31 (VIDEO).
Carl R. Moore Management's 6-year-old Chamberlain Bridge, the 122-pound high weight in the field of 11 for the five-furlong turf event, erased a two-length deficit behind pacesetter Blue Sailor in the final furlong and held off Phosphorescent by a half-length to win in a swift time of :55.06 over firm going. Jamie Theriot rode the winner for trainer Bret Calhoun.
It was the second straight major turf victory for Chamberlain Bridge and came five weeks after he scored a four-length win in the $125,000 Arlington Sprint Handicap June 26. The Arlington victory secured a spot in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IIT) Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs this fall.
Theriot, who has ridden Chamberlain Bridge in his five races this year, said that the Kentucky-bred son of War Chant --She’s Got Class, by Trempolino, loved the local grass course.
“This is absolutely one of the best turf courses in the country and my horse really took to the firm going," he said. "He broke very sharp, but you have to keep after him to stay close in races like these.”
Chamberlain Bridge, Bullet from Abroad and Blue Sailor all went for the early lead, with Blue Sailor first to the quarter pole in :21.40. He held a length advantage on the turn but began to tire after a sizzling half-mile in :43.54. At that point Theriot drove Chamberlain Bridge to the front, but the the winner was fully extended to fend off Phosphorescent’s late rally for Victor Molina, Sneaking Uponyou, with Huber Villa-Gomez aboard, was another half-length back in third.
The runnerup had more than his share of bad racing luck. He was ninth in the 11-horse field after two furlongs and then was in tight quarters along the fence around the turn. Molina eventually got him out to the middle of the track but their late bid came too late.
Chamberlain Bridge paid $4.60 to win. He took home a winner’s check of $112,800 and raised his career record to 14 wins, four seconds, and six thirds from 28 starts with earnings of $486,107.
The winning bay gelding was bred by Eugene Melnyk.