Colizeo, who has the looks of a star in the making, captured the $60,000 Challenger Stakes (VIDEO) in style, as he set a stakes record for the 20-year-old race by traveling 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.94 under Willie Martinez.
A 4-year-old Distorted Humor homebred of Wertheimer and Frere and trained by Todd Pletcher, Colizeo settled behind early leader Yummy with Butter through the opening fractions of the Challenger, moving to the lead at the three-quarters pole before pulling away for a four-length score. Jardim was second, and 47-1 Yummy with Bitter held on to be third. Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Drosselmeyer, sent off as the 2-1 favorite, finished fourth in his season debut.
“He’s been training really well (at Palm Meadows),” said Pletcher assistant Michael Dilger. “This was a really tough field; the announcer said that it’s the best field in the race’s 20 years. We’re really happy with him, and we’re glad we brought him over here.”
“That is one sweet horse and if Mr. Pletcher has any more to send up here I’d be glad to win another for him,” said Martinez.
Colizeo paid $6.60, $4.40, and $3.80.
Schoolyard Dreams, a two-time winner over the strip, finished eighth in a field of 11.