Volponi Benefits From Equipment Change to Win Poker

Volponi Benefits From Equipment Change to Win Poker
Volponi, winning the Poker Handicap in first race without blinkers in eight starts.
Amherst Stable and Spruce Pond Stable's Volponi benefited from an equipment change as he rolled past Saint Verre to win the grade III, $111,200 Poker Handicap at Belmont Park on Friday.

Sent off at 9-1 odds, the Phil Johnson-trained colt was racing without blinkers for the first time in his last eight starts.

Saint Verre assumed the early lead, getting the first quarter of a mile in :22 4/5 and the half in :45 1/5 while favored Shibboleth set just a length off to his outside.

Shibboleth made a move toward Saint Verre at the top of the stretch, but Saint Verre continued until he was challenged by Volponi, who had stalked the front-runners from the outside. Carrying 115 pounds, seven pounds less than Shibboleth, Volponi had no problem getting the job done as he ran down Saint Verre for a 2 ¼-length victory. Final time for the mile race 3-year-olds and up over the Widener Turf Course was 1:32 1/5. Saint Verre held on for second by a neck over Navesink, followed by Polish Miner, Shibboleth, Keats and Yeats, and Boastful. Volponi paid $20.60, $11.00, $9.70, Saint Verre was woth $16.40 and $17.20  and Navesink paid $8.90.  

Shibboleth, sent off at 1-2 odds, appeared a threat early but could not challenge the winner late. "I never had any horse at any time," jockey Jerry Bailey said. "I just had nothing."

(Chart, Equibase)

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