$1.2 Million Purchase Looks Like Bargain After Huge Debut

Chapel Royal, a son of Montbrook who topped the OBSC Calder select sale of 2-year-olds in February with a final bid of $1.2 million, showed he may have been well worth his hefty price after a dazzling performance in his career bow at Belmont Park Thursday.

Sent off as the odds-on favorite in the eight-horse field, Chapel Royal ducked out at the start from his outside post but quickly accelerated under jockey John Velasquez to reach contention down the backstretch.

Chapel Royal continued his forward move into the turn and dueled along the outside of pacesetter Snow Eagle entering the lane. Chapel Royal then found another gear down the stretch and easily drew off under a vigorous hand ride to win by 9 1/4-lengths. The final time for five furlongs on a fast track was :58.08.

Chapel Royal is trained by Todd Pletcher and races for the partnership of Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith. Bred in Florida by Michael O'Farrell's Ocala Stud, the sleek dark bay colt is the second foal of racing age out of the Cutlass mare Cut Class Leanne.