Sharp Performance, winning the Lexington Stakes.

Sharp Performance, winning the Lexington Stakes.

AP/ NYRA/ Adam Coglianese

Sharp Performance Wins Lexington in Stakes Debut

Sharp Performance, rising to the stakes ranks after winning an allowance and maiden race in consecutive starts, scored a one-length victory Sunday in the $150,000 Lexington Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park. The favorite covered 1 1/4 miles in 1:58.93 on the firm inner turf course. The time was the fastest in the 24 renewals of the Lexington at that distance.

Package Store was second in the field of nine 3-year-olds. Another 4 1/4 lengths back in third was Whitmore's Conn. Volpoini, Kalu, Strategic Partner, Epic Pursuit, and Judge Spada completed the order of finish.

Sharp Performance's trainer David Donk had felt his lightly raced colt was ready to run in graded stakes events. He thought his horse was "a bit green" in the stretch, but he still liked what he saw.

"He ducked in when Johnny (Velazquez) showed him the stick," Donk said. "But he got straightened out in time to get there."

Sharp Performance earned $90,000 for owners William Bloom and John Behrendt and returned $7.60, $4.20, and $3.50. Package Store paid $5.30 and $3.90 and Whitmore's Conn paid $7.70 to show. The winning exacta combination returned $35. (Chart, Equibase)