Mustanfar Gets Judges' Decision in Lexington

(from Belmont Park report)
Icy Atlantic survived a stretch-long duel with Mustanfar by a nose, but the 9-5 favorite couldn't withstand a stewards' inquiry. Mustanfar was declared the winner of the $111,100 Lexington Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park Sunday through disqualification.

"Originally, I thought he bobbled, but there was definitely some contact on the replay," said Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of Mustanfar. "I hate to have my buddy (Todd Pletcher, trainer of Icy Atlantic) taken down, but he wins his share.

"It's great with his pedigree to get a graded stakes win into him. He wants distance."

Mustanfar's first graded stakes victory ended a five-race losing streak. His last win came in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park Jan. 24.

McLaughlin said the $400,000 Secretariat (gr. I) at 10 furlongs at Arlington Park on Aug. 14 would be considered.

Second Performance finished another 2 ¼ lengths back in third. The running time for the 10-furlong stake for three year olds was 2:01 on turf labeled firm.

Big Booster took the early lead through an opening quarter mile in :24 4/5 and slipped back in the pace as Icy Atlantic and Second Performance took over the pacesetting duties. They covered the half in :48 4/5 and the six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 before Icy Atlantic forged the lead with a quarter of a mile to go. Mustanfar, in hand early, rallied while three deep approaching the stretch and came in a bit in the stretch to engage Icy Atlantic. The pair battled to the wire, with Icy Atlantic holding on. Icy Atlantic was placed second.

John Velazquez, who rode Icy Atlantic, was disappointed in the result.

"I was on the inside and when I hit him, he went out and sort of leaned on (Mustanfar). There was nothing I could do. Other than that I had a perfect trip. I don't think that this horse wants to be on the lead, because he tries to pull off too much, so I tried to keep him off the lead until it was time to go."

"I was really happy with how the race was going," winning jockey Jose Santos said. "I like the horse. I rode him once before in Florida, and lost my whip and only got beat by three and a half lengths. And the horse we lost to was the winner of the Virginia Derby (Kitten's Joy) so I knew I had a legitimate horse today."

Mustanfar ran his record to 3-1-1 from 10 starts and ran his earnings to $211,430. He was second by a neck to Limehouse in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) March 14. Returning to the turf in his most recent start, he was fourth in a restricted stakes behind Second Performance at Belmont June 27.

Owned by Shadwell Stable, Mustanfar paid $13.40, $6.10 and $3.50, keying a $61.50 exacta. Icy Atlantic returned $3.70 and $2.50, while Second Performance paid $2.80 to show.

Big Booster, Agent Danseur, Commendation, Inducement and Tomorrows Champ followed.

(Chart, Equibase)