Lothenbach Stables’ Bearpath stalked pacesetter Brother Nick for 11 furlongs, took over inside the eighth-pole, then held off favorite Never On Sunday to win the Pan American Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) March 27 on the Gulfstream Park turf.
It was the first stakes win for Bearpath, a 4-year-old son of Dynaformer trained by Ian Wilkes. The bay gelding was sent off at 19-1 in a field of nine marathoners going 1 1/2 miles on the 'good' turf course. The final time was 2:32.60. Freddie Lenclud rode the winner.
Bearpath was never far back of Brother Nick, who set an easy pace up front with Carlos Marquez Jr. in the irons. The half-mile split was :52.75, while three quarters went in 1:18.54, and one mile in 1:45.12. Second choice Winchester was also up close during a ground-saving trip.
After overtaking Brother Nick inside the final furlong marker, Bearpath opned up a clear lead en route to his three-quarters of a length score.
Never On Sunday, who rallied from fifth at the top of stretch under Joe Bravo, beat out a game Brother Nick by a neck to get second. Winchester was fourth.
“Ian told me to ride my race today, let him settle,” Lenclud said. “I tucked him in to keep him quiet and when we hit the straight he had a push-button take off. I really was able to win because I outpaced the others.”
Bearpath took nine tries to break his maiden, which he did last summer on the Ellis Park turf. He also had a pair of allowance wins in 2009 and began this year’s campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Feb. 28 Mac Diarmida (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream Park in his stakes debut.
“He was (Lenclud’s) first winner when Bearpath broke his maiden,” Wilkes said. “That was a turning point for him. After his previous race when I put blinkers on him for the only time, I had him gelded and took the blinkers off, and he advanced from there. We’ve found out this is what he wants to do—run a mile and a half—and that’s what we’ll keep him doing. His next start will probably be the Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland (gr. IIT, April 23).”
This was Bearpath’s fourth win from 15 starts. Bred in Kentucky by Whisper Hill Farm and out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Song ‘n Silk, he has now earned $184,630.
The winner paid $40.80, $15.60, and $9. The exacta (10-5) returned $177.20 and the $1 trifecta (10-5-3) was $760.80.
Brass Hat, the multiple graded stakes winning fan favorite, finished eighth in his 9-year-old debut.