King David Rules Jamaica Handicap
by Claire Novak
Date Posted: 10/6/2012 6:26:31 PM
Last Updated: 10/9/2012 2:35:18 PM

King David upsets the Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park.
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Photo: Coglianese Photos

Three weeks after being claimed for $35,000, 28-1 shot King David upset the $400,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IT) Oct. 6 at Belmont Park as 8-5 favorite Dullahan finished fifth (VIDEO).

The sophomore son of Japanese-bred sire Hat Trick   benefited from a crawling pace set by the eventual runner-up King Kreesa, and completed the 1 1/8-mile turf event over the "good" turf in 1:52.91 with a half-length advantage under Rosie Napravnik. King Kreesa, also a longshot at 23-1, completed a juicy exacta of $370 while Summer Front rounded out a trifecta worth $1,865.

The former claimer rated in third, a few lengths off tepid early splits of :25.89, ;52.29 and 1:18.15 set by King Kreesa. As Summer Front came up the rail to challenge the pacesetter in mid-stretch, King David launched his bid on the outside to grab the lead with less than 100 yards to go.

King David returned $58, $18.80, and $6.70 while King Kreesa paid $21.20 and $8. Summer Front paid $3.30. Following the trio under the wire were third choice Cogito, Dullahan, Shkspeare Shaliyah, and Howe Great.

"I assumed I probably would get a stalking trip, and we sat in a great spot," said Napravnik, who one race earlier captured the Foxwoods Champagne (gr. I) with Shanghai Bobby   and had three victories on the card overall. "I was able to save ground on the first turn. The turf is a little bit soft, so I took him to the outside. He just put in a very game effort."

The victory was the sixth in seven starts this year for King David, a dark bay who did not break his maiden until May 25 in a $25,000 claiming race at Arlington Park. Two victories and one second-place finish later, he traveled from Chicago to Saratoga Race Course, where he was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Nick Canani Aug. 13 when winning again. On Sept. 15, trainer Mike Maker haltered King David for $35,000 out of a victory at Belmont on behalf of Scarlet Stable.

"Mike saw this horse at Saratoga, and lost a shake to claim him there, so he claimed him at Belmont," said Maker's assistant, Pearl Hagadorn. "He looks for an athlete that he thinks can improve with his program, and he's brilliant at it."

"I said last night to Ramon Dominguez, you know what? Mike does this all the time," said Napravnik. "He's very good at turning it around, turning horses over, and doing a great job with them, especially on the turf.'"

Bred in Kentucky by Ben Lengacher out of the Gone West mare Storm West, King David now has earnings of $333,435.


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