Juddmonte Farm's Cacique returned to the Belmont Park winner's circle when Edgar Prado exploited an opening along the inside to capture the $500,000 Man o' War (gr. IT) on the inner turf course Saturday.
Cacique's 1 3/4-length victory over the closing Go Deputy came after back-to-back runner-up finishes in he United Nations (gr. IT) at Monmouth July 8 and the Arlington Million (gr. IT) less than a month ago. Prior to those efforts, the Bobby Frankel-trained 5-year-old won the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) over the same Belmont course June 10.
Racing close to the inside for Prado, Cacique showed a quick turn of foot in the stretch when a hole appeared in the tight pack. The Irish-bred son of Danehill left Showing Up behind at the eighth pole and drew off at the end. The final time in the 1 3/8-mile event was 2:15 3/5 on good going.
It had been a long day for Frankel and Prado prior to the Man o' War.
"I'm happy," said Frankel, after his charge prevailed for 10,265 in attendance. "It was getting toward the end of the day. It feels like one of those Breeders' Cup days."
Frankel may well be planning another visit to the Breeders' Cup in Churchill Downs on Nov. 4 with Cacique, who lost three grade I races by a combined margin of little more than 1 1/2 lengths.
"They came running out of the gate, so I took back and stayed covered up," said Prado. "Everything was beautiful. I was looking for a place to go, and the horse just took off like a rocket. Out of all of his races where I've ridden him, this was his best kick."
Go Deputy, John Velazquez aboard, was next-to-last on the far turn when he rallied four wide to grab the place spot by a nose over Showing Up.
"He ran awesome," Velazquez said of the runner-up. "I was very proud of him. He had a great trip. I thought I had Cacique because he was stuck, but he got through. He got lucky, which is a credit to Edgar because he rode a good race."
The second choice in the field of seven, Showing Up pressured Ramazutti through fractions of :24, :49 45, 1:15 3/5 and 1:40 4/5. The Secretariat (gr. IT) winner led briefly in the stretch but proved no match for the winner.
Showing Up, the lone 3-year-old in the field, carried 121 pounds, five less than his rivals.
Cosmonaut finished fourth, followed by Relaxed Gesture, Crown Point, and Ramazutti.
A group II winner in France, Cacique has produced an enviable record of two wins and three seconds in six U.S. starts - all in grade I company - since joining Frankel's stable last winter. He earned $300,000 Saturday to boost his total to $1,462,331 with an overall record of 7-5-1 in 17 starts.
"The way he trains in the morning, he never impresses you, so it's hard to get high on him," Frankel said. "In the afternoon, when you put him on the grass, he accelerates. This might have been his best race yet. There was more speed today.
"I'm thinking (about the Breeders' Cup). The way he finished, how could he finish any faster? He came home the last eighth in less than :11 on not a very fast turf course. He won the Manhattan on the lead, but I think his best race is to be firing at a horse."
The winner paid $5.40, $2.80, and $2.20. Go Deputy returned $3.70 and $2.90. Showing Up, with regular rider Cornelio Velasquez aboard, was $2.90 to show.
"I was in good position, but Prado's horse – what a strong finish," Velasquez. "The inside horse just passed me very fast. My horse really ran good."