Spite the Devil Drops Belmont Curtain in Shipman

Spite the Devil surged past the tiring leaders in the stretch and held off a late charge by Sherpa Guide by a half-length to win the $108,100 Evan Shipman Handicap on closing day of the Belmont spring/summer meeting on Sunday.

"We had a good trip outside," said winning jockey Edgar Prado, who won four races on closing day. "I had a lot of horse at the top of the stretch, but the two inside horses were stubborn. I had to get into him and he finally went by. I think he just did enough to win."

Spite the Devil won the 1 1/16-mile race for New York-breds in 1:41 4/5. Sherpa Guide, who won the 2002 Evan Shipman and finished third in the 2003 running, was second under Aaron Gryder. Mr. Determined, the only non-gelding in the six-horse field, finished third under Shaun Bridgmohan.

Spite the Devil returned $7.80, $4.40 and $3.30. Sherpa Guide returned $5.40 and $3.80. Mr. Determined finished a neck behind Sherpa Guide and paid $6.50 to show.

The Belmont Spring/Summer meeting ended with John Velazquez atop the riding standings with 77 victories. Todd Pletcher took the training title with 33 victories. Mrs. E. Paul Robsham was the leading owner with nine wins.

Spite the Devil -- a 4-year-old statebred bay gelding by Devil His Due, out of Samantha D (Cryptoclearance) -- earned $64,860 for Hardwicke Stable, the nom de course for breeder Elisabeth Jerkens. He is now 5-5-6 from 27 starts with earnings of $443,909. Allen Jerkens is the trainer.

Gander, who won the 2000 Evan Shipman, was slow into stride, made a brief run on the backstretch, then faded to fifth as the 123-pound highweight and 8-5 favorite. The 8-year-old gray gelding has earned $1,824,011 in his career, putting him third on the all-time earnings list for New York-breds behind active Funny Cide ($2,524,485) and retired Say Florida Sandy ($2,085,409).

(Chart, Equibase)