Stalking pacesetter Wanderin Boy for the first half of the 1 1/8-mile route, Lawyer Ron took over at the three-quarters pole and emphatically drew off with authority under jockey John Valezquez, romping to an 8 1/4-length victory at Saratoga.
A son of Langfuhr -Donation, Lawyer Ron’s final time of 1:48.60 was a full two seconds off his record-setting Whitney time, but the dominating win left little doubt who the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic-Powered by Dodge favorite will be, if Hines Racing decides to enter.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and bred in Kentucky by the late James Hines Jr., Lawyer Ron won for the 12th time in 24 career starts and picked up his third graded stakes victory of the year.
“Earlier, the track didn’t seem like it was that fast. You have to consider, too, that he was carrying 126 pounds today," said Pletcher. "He was picking up a lot of weight on a track that wasn’t as fast as on Whitney day. I thought he was every bit as good today as he was the other day. He took the race to everybody early on, and we worked our way out of the 1-post, which we were concerned about.
"I think he has established himself as the top older horse in training. Now we have to see how he matches up against some of the 3-year-olds. There is a chance he’ll meet some of those in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (Invitational, Belmont Park, Sept. 30), if we decided to go there. The Whitney was arguably the strongest race anyone has run this year, and it was another big effort today.”
Stone Farm’s Wanderin Boy set a half-mile fraction of :46.42, with Velazquez sitting just outside of the leader. As they approached the final turn, the 4-year-old colt unleashed a furious move, leaving all seven rivals in the rear. Sun King finished just ahead of Diamond Stripes for second.
“I just wanted to make sure that we ran into that first turn," said Velazquez. "I saw Wanderin Boy wanted to take the lead and I let him go.
"I got my horse to the outside, and then he was going well. I just wanted him to settle more on the outside; he was probably closer to the lead than I wanted him, but he was going so easily. After that, he was just cruising. Down the lane, I gave him a couple of spanks and he just ran away.”
Lawyer Ron, who has now earned more than $2.6 million, paid $3.50, $2.60, $2.10, while the exacta (1-4) earned bettors $38.40.