Finding a hole off the rail just after turning for home, Trademark showed a devastating kick while rallying to win the 45th running of the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Friday.
The South African bred son of Goldmark stopped the clock in 1:49.06 for the nine furlongs, run over 'soft' ground after a week full of rain in upstate New York. Rouvres was along for second, and Slew Valley finished third. A field of seven went postward following the scratches of Millennium Dragon, Saint Verre, Rock Slide, and El Gran Papa.
Defending Baruch champion Del Mar Show went right to the front out of the gate, with Union Place in close pursuit. Del Mar Show set moderate fractions of :23 1/5 and :47 1/5 and got the mile in 1:36.85. When it looked like he might shake free, suddenly the back markers came calling and swallowed up the ground, with Richard Migliore pulling Trademark off the hedge for clear sailing. Trademark won by a widening five lengths. He is trained by the red-hot Kiaran McLaughlin and is owned by Mohammed al Maktoum. Trademark was bred in South Africa by D Cohen and Sons.
"We didn't know how he would handle the soft turf, but it dried out quite a bit since yesterday, McLaughlin said. "The trip was perfect. He's a top horse. He was obviously a very good horse in South Africa; he was third to Ipi Tombe in Dubai, and she would have been 1-9 in here. He's a bleeder and the Lasix has been a huge plus for him. This is great because we only won one stake at Belmont, so it is nice to win a stake this early here at Saratoga. Just to win a race at Saratoga is great. I thought today a mile and an eighth would be his best distance, but I've only had him since April 15th and we've only run him twice, so you are always learning."
Trademark was winning for the 10th time in 47 starts and with his Baruch win passed the $300,000 mark in lifetime earnings. He returned $15.20, $7.30, and $5.10. Rouvres paid $4.40 and $3.60, while Slew Valley was good for $6.50.
It was another strong ride with the rail out nine feet for Migliore, who did not ride Trademark when he lost Belmont's Poker Handicap (gr. IIIT) last month by a half-length in his American debut.
It was Migliore's second Bernard Baruch victory. His first came 18 years ago on Win in 1985.
Corey Nakatani, who rode second choice Rouvres, said, "Our main concern today was to get him to relax because he has the tendency to pull. I was able to get him to relax and be comfortable. He just tired in the end. He still put in a good effort."
Del Mar Show's connections, trainer Bill Mott and jockey Jerry Bailey, had teamed to win the last three runnings of the Baruch and four of the past five.
"Eibar Coa was chirping at his horse (Union Place), and Del Mar Show just took off," Bailey said. "He handled the course fine; it wasn't as soft as I thought it would be. Going too fast too early was his demise."
While Bailey's streak was halted, Mott still had a chance to win the Bernard Baruch with Patrol, who ran uncoupled.
"We didn't expect to see Del Mar Show on the lead," Mott said, "but he broke well and he was there. Jerry (Bailey) said that the horse next to him was running and just kind of locked on to him. At that point, I wish Patrol was right up in behind them."
Patrol tired and eventually finished last.
The race was moved from the Mellon grass course to the inner turf track due to turf conditions. Tap the Admiral was fourth, followed by favored Del Mar Show, Union Place and Patrol.