Ridden by Javier Castellano, 5-2 shot Violence prevailed after getting the lead in the stretch in spite of some bumping with runner-up Vegas No Show. Stewards conducted an inquiry into the stretch run but made no change in the order of finish.
Violence, a son of Medaglia d'Oro that went for $600,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale last year, is now unbeaten in two starts for owner Black Rock Stables and trainer Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher also started 3-5 favorite Darwin, who finished fourth in the seven-horse field after tussling on the lead with early pacesetter Really Sharp. Darwin was in contention in the stretch but in tight along the fence when jockey John Velazquez took up briefly. Darwin lost interest thereafter.
Violence handily defeated Vegas No Show with Really Sharp taking third, five lengths behind the winner. The final time for the one-turn mile was 1:35.32 over a fast main track. Fractions were :22.88, :45.45, and 1:09.46.
Bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm, Violence is out of the winning Gone West mare Violent Beauty. The colt's third dam is champion older mare Sky Beauty.
"I like the way he did it today," said Castellano. "He lugged in a little bit, but I don’t think it was a big deal. He responded so well.”
Violence graduated at first asking by a neck in spite of hesitating at the start in a seven-furlong maiden event at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 18. The horse he beat, Titletown Five, returned to break his maiden by nine lengths at Churchill Downs.
After missing some training time with a minor shin injury, Violence returned with three solid works on the training track at Belmont Park last month. He worked on even terms with Darwin in 1:00 3/5 Oct. 27.
"It was a big effort from a seven-furlong maiden at Saratoga to a November grade II," Pletcher noted. “Everybody was a little green down the stretch; horses were kind of running all over the place.
"(Violence) wanted to lean in a little, but once Javier got him corrected he finished well. He’s still a young colt, a colt I anticipate will continue to improve physically and mentally.”
Pletcher said he was unsure about whether Violence would make Aqueduct's Nov. 24 Remsen Stakes (gr. II).
“I would be a little concerned about the 20-day turnaround, so we’ll see how he comes out of it. Our plan coming into this was that this would be his last run of the year and then we’ll go to Florida.”
Darwin, a $1.3 million Fasig-Tipton sales topper in Florida in March, also was making his second start for Pletcher after a two-length maiden score at Belmont Oct. 6.
His failure to finish in the money hurt some bridge jumpers. Violence paid $7.80, $4.50, and $5.40. Vegas No Show, who was ridden by John Velazquez, returned $9 and $10.40. Really Sharp paid $6.70 to show.