European shipper Western Aristocrat made a winning North American debut when he wired the field in the $250,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IT) (VIDEO) Oct. 8 at Belmont Park.
Racing for Vinery Stables after shipping from England for trainer Jeremy Noseda, the 3-year-old son of Mr. Greeley
was able to get away with easy fractions, then after being pressured by favored Brilliant Speed
at the top of the lane, was able to re-break and stride away for a one–length victory.
Corey Nakatani continued his torrid afternoon at Belmont when he was aboard for his fifth win in seven starts on the afternoon. He would win the Frizette (gr. I) one race later with My Miss Aurelia for his sixth victory.
The final time for 1 1/8 miles on the firm turf course was 1:50.34.
Brilliant Speed settled for second under John Velazquez, three-quarters of a length in front of Wilkinson
Breaking from post 5 in a field of seven, Western Aristocrat was allowed to get an easy lead and led through splits of :25.52, :52.20, and 1:16.21. Brilliant Speed, winner of the Saranac (gr. IIIT) last out, tracked him closely all the way and was just a half-length back turning for home. But after feeling pressure from his rival, Western Aristocrat lengthened his lead in the final furlong and won under a hand-ride.
“The plan was to keep him happy, wherever he was comfortable,” Nakatani said. “I really didn’t want to be on the lead, but we found ourselves up on the lead because there was no pace. It actually turned out for the better because he’s able to do what he’s able to do, and when I called on him he cut and re-broke and ran a big race.”
The dark bay/brown colt was bred in Kentucky by Grapestock and is out of the Kris S. mare Aristocrat Lady. After winning three times in six starts in England, he was shipped to the United States and ran with Lasix for the first time in the Jamaica.
“He’s done very well (in England),” said Tom Ludt, president of Vinery. "Jeremy gets all of our European horses but he used to train in America, and he said to me, ‘Tom, I think this horse will really blossom in America,’ so that was the plan.
“We’ll keep him here (with Steve Asmussen). He’ll definitely keep racing; he’s been sound. We’ll consider the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT), but we’ll let the horse tell us.”
Western Aristocrat improved to 4-0-2 from seven starts and increased his earnings to $194,367.