Attacking from the outside, 6-5 favorite Apart won by a neck over the second betting choice, covering the 1 1/16 miles over a fast Pimlico track in 1:43.70 while pop star Bruno Mars sang in the infield.
“When we turned for home, I felt pretty good,” said Apart’s rider, Garrett Gomez. “I just had to reach down and give him a little love tap to make sure he didn’t fall asleep.”
It was the first victory in 2011 for Apart. The 4-year-old Flatter colt came into the race off a runner-up finish in the March 26 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II). Prior to that, he was third in the Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) and second in the Louisiana Handicap.
Last year, Apart triumphed in the Super Derby (gr. II), Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III), and Super Derby Prelude Stakes.
After breaking second in the Schaefer Memorial, Colizeo charged to the lead, completing a quarter mile in :24.38, a half in :48.83, and six furlongs in 1:13.19. Apart, meanwhile, stalked from three-wide before he came charging on the final turn and challenged Colizeo entering the lane. Apart stuck his head in front inside the final furlong and held on stubbornly.
“He fought hard,” said Colizeo’s jockey, John Velazquez. “The other horse just outran him the last part.”
Runner-up Colizeo finished 1 ½ lengths in front of Icabad Crane, ridden by Rajiv Maragh. It was another 3 ¼ lengths back to Researcher, who was followed under the wire by Our Dark Knight and Saratoga Red.
“I wanted to sit back a little and just make one run with him,” Gomez said of Apart. “When the pace slowed down a little to my liking, I was able to edge up closer to him (Colizeo). I always felt I had him within range. He (Apart) traveled well.”
Produced in Kentucky from the Unbridled mare Detach, Apart has won five of his 12 career races while earning $640,018.
“I told Garrett, ‘He’s been on the money lately, so ride him with confidence,' ” said Apart’s trainer, Al Stall Jr. “He’s sound. I think he’ll be a better horse by the end of the year and the farther he goes. This is a good spot. I like the place where the race sits on the calendar besides the fun we have in Baltimore.”
Stall and Dilschneider also scored in the Schaefer with Blame, who would go on to earn champion older male honors in 2010.
Apart returned $4.40, $2.60, and $2.20 to his supporters. Colizeo paid $3 and $2.40, and Icabad Crane returned $2.40.