The Lumber Guy Lays It Down in Vosburgh
The homebred son of Grand Slam, trained by Michael Hushion as part of a Schwartz entry sent off as the 2-1 choice, got the six furlongs in 1:09.72 over a track labeled good while recording a 1 1/4-length victory.
Caixa Eletronica, sent off at 7-1, rallied stoutly for second, topping pacesetter Poseidon's Warrior by 1 3/4 lengths. Little Drama was a half-length back in fourth. He was followed by Sean Avery, Justin Phillip , Fort Loudon, Zero Rate Policy, and Rothko.
Prior to the start Royal Currier reared in the gate and unseated his rider. He was scratched after a review from the track veterinarian.
Poseidon's Warrior broke on top and set the early pace while being pressed by Little Drama with The Lumber Guy just to their outside. They zipped through an opening quarter in :22.57 and a half in :45.06. The Lumber Guy stormed to the lead by a head at the eighth pole after five furlongs in :56.91.
"It was pretty simple," said Velazquez. "Mike (Hushion) told me 'He's quick, make sure you get him out of there running, and if he's taking you, leave him alone.' He thought he was going to finish for me, and he did."
The Lumber Guy, bred in New York by Schwartz's Stonewall Farm, is out of the Unbridled's Song mare Boltono. A winner of the Miracle Wood Stakes and Jerome Stakes (gr. II) earlier this year, he was making his first start since a sixth-place effort in early May in the nine-furlong Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II).
"This is always a good time of year for 3-year-olds," said Hushion. "They've gone through that maturing. I like 3-year-olds vs. older horses this time of year. I've been telling Barry for the past five weeks that he's been working like the real deal. We know he's got a good mile in him from the Jerome. Time will tell. I don't think we'll be doing any jumping to a mile and an eighth from here."
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez was aboard. The victory earned The Lumber Guy an expense-paid automatic entry in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park.
The winner, who ran coupled with Sean Avery, paid $6.20, $3.70, and $2.90. Caixa Electronia returned $7.80 and $5.10. Poseidon's Warrior paid $5.40.
"We really felt going in that we were going to win today," Schwartz said. "I just joked, 'The only bad thing is that we're not going to get 10, 12-1 on him.' He had a month off on my farm after the Peter Pan because he was knocked out. Mike really took it easy getting him back, and he's just come back better than ever."
Asked about the Breeders' Cup, Schwartz said: "It's just a question of which one, the Sprint (gr. I) or the Dirt Mile (gr. I). I'm kind of inclined to think he's a miler."
The victory was worth $240,000, which more than doubled The Lumber Guy's career earnigns to $465,800. He has four wins from six career starts.
"Seems like speed has been holding up pretty well. We got some solid fractions, not quite as fast as we were hoping for, but I thought he ran his race," said trainer Todd Pletcher of runner-up Caixa Eletronica.
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