Host (8) runs down Vanderlin in deep stretch for Shadwell win.

Host (8) runs down Vanderlin in deep stretch for Shadwell win.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Host the Toast of Shadwell Turf Mile

In his first start since February, the Chilean-bred outsider Host came from last on the backstretch to collar Vanderlin in deep stretch for a neck victory in the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland Saturday.

With Rafael Bejarano in the irons, the consistent 5-year-old chestnut horse mowed down the lane to earn his first win in two starts in 2005 for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Melnyk Racing Stables Inc. The final time was 1:37 3/5. He became the first South American bred to win the Turf Mile.

Pletcher won the Frizette (gr. I) with his 2-year-old filly Adieu at Belmont Park earlier in the day.

Host, the versatile son of Hussonet had been out of action since being nipped in the Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park.

"My horse broke good and went easily to the half," said Bejarano. "Even though he usually shows speed, he relaxed for me. When I asked him to run, he just exploded."

None of the favorites, the Bobby Frankel-trained mare Alinghi and Three Valleys nor Ad Valorem, were involved in the finish.

Australian champion Alinghi, the only filly in the 10-horse field, finished eighth under jockey Edgar Prado.

"This filly was training super leading up to this race," said Prado. "She just didn't like the give in the turf course today. She is a champion though, and she will be back to fight another day."

Host, in his first start in a grade I race, was sent off at 10-1 and paid $22.80, $9.80, and $6.

The 6-year-old gelding Vanderlin, who grabbed the lead in the stretch and finished gamely under British jockey Richard Hughes, returned $19.20 and $11.20 and a $399.20 exacta.

"We were in good position and he liked the softer turf, Hughes said. "It just wasn't enough today." Vanderlin runs for English trainer Andrew Balding.

Gulch Approval, who overtook Durban Thunder in upper stretch for Norberto Arroyo, held on for third, 2 3/4 lengths behind the runner-up, and paid $12.

With Remind in the fourth slot, the superfecta paid a whopping $80,834.20.

The Brazilian-bred Durban Thunder, ridden by Mark Guidry, set the early pace – :24 1/5 and :48 1/5 – with Gulch Approval, Vanderlin, and Cool Commander pressing. The tractable Host, still seventh at the quarter pole, edged up on the outside after saving ground early, closing powerfully in the middle of the track.

Host, who began his career in Chile, won for the eighth time in 14 starts and more than doubled his earnings to $647,119. He has won three of eight attempts in the United States, including last year's Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Aqueduct and the Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder.

(Chart, Equibase)