J. W. Singer's Teeth of the Dog ran like an even-money favorite should, gamely holding off a late challenge from Fast Falcon to take the $200,000 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) June 30 at Belmont Park (VIDEO).
It was a first graded stakes score and second win in a row for the 3-year-old son of Bluegrass Cat . Teeth of the Dog ran fifth in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) earlier this year and then came out a 3 3/4-length winner over Fast Falcon in the June 9 Easy Goer Stakes before taking the Dwyer for trainer Michael Matz.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, who recently transferred his tack from California to New York, Teeth of the Dog took a momentary lead over six other sophomores in the 1 1/16-mile test but was passed on the rail by Morgan's Guerrilla. He kept pace with that one along the two path through early fractions of :22.99 and :46.12, then disposed of his frontrunning opponent after completing three-quarters in 1:09.91.
Swinging three wide between Morgan's Guerrilla and Zetterholm turning for home, Teeth of the Dog had a familiar foe to contend with as Fast Falcon mounted a sustained rally under jockey Rosie Napravnik on the outside. Those two hooked up for a neck-and-neck battle down the stretch through a mile in 1:34.84, but Teeth of the Dog dug in hard and held the drifting Fast Falcon at bay to get the victory by a neck in a final time of 1:41.34.
"He's an unbelievable horse," Matz remarked. "He can come from off the pace or go to the lead if he needs to go to the lead. He's a pretty darn game horse, that's for sure. The jock looks like he fits him well."
"I was a little closer to the pace than last time," Rosario said. "He really put forward a good race today. When Fast Falcon came to me, he was game. He kept fighting and gave 100 percent."
Teeth of the Dog returned $4, $3.10, and $2.30 while Fast Falcon brought $7.20 and $4.20 and Morgan's Guerrilla paid $3.50. Zetterholm and Guyana Star Dweej were next.
Unstoppable U was eased and Monarchic was pulled up. Monarchic was vanned back to the barn with a non-displaced condylar fracture in his right foreleg; no further infromation regarding prognosis was immediately available for the son of Forestry who is trained by Eoin Harty.
Napravnik said Fast Falcon, trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito, remains on par with Teeth of the Dog.
"He ran a great race against Teeth of the Dog last time and had a much tougher trip than him," she said. "We got a pretty decent trip today, just a dog fight to the end. We lost today, but we might be able to win it next time."
"Sometimes you have to take a chance," Zito remarked. "He showed he belonged. The one horse I was really afraid of was the winner. Our horse looks like he's going in the right direction. We're happy about him. It's too early to say, but we'll talk about the Jim Dandy and some other options."
Matz also said the July 28 Jim Dandy (gr. II) at Saratoga Race Course--along with the Aug. 4 West Virginia Derby (gr. II) at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort--are options for his colt's next out.
"He's run three races in six weeks, so we're going to give him a little bit of a break right now," he said.
Bred in Kentucky by Royal Pegasus out of the Deputy Minister mare Deputy Reality, Teeth of the Dog now has a 3-1-2 record from seven starts, including a third-place finish in the April 7 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial (gr. I), with earnings of $346,450.