Live Oak Plantation's homebred World Approval has been knocking on the door at the top level and broke through July 3 for his first grade I win in the $300,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park.
Third by 2 1/4 lengths last time out in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes (gr. IT) June 11 and second by a neck in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) May 7, the Northern Afleet gelding got a perfect trip under first-time jockey Florent Geroux and scored a clear victory in the 1 3/8-mile United Nations for trainer Mark Casse.
World Approval stalked longshot pacesetter Cement Clement as he set fractions of :24.29, :50.21, and 1:14.72 through six furlongs, moved to the front in the third and final turn, and held off a late drive by Money Multiplier to secure the win by 1 1/4 lengths. Favored Wake Forest, last-out winner of the Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT), checked in third.
"We sat the perfect trip," Geroux said. "On paper it looked like (Cement Clement) would be going to the lead, so we let him set the pace for us. The only question was whether he could go that far, since this was his first time going that much distance, but he showed he can do it and he did it well. When I asked him at the quarter pole, he responded nicely."
The final time for the 1 3/8 miles was 2:14.66 on turf rated good and World Approval paid $7.40 to win.
Triple Threat, who dwelt at the start, rallied to finish fourth, followed by Can'thelpbelieving, Riviere Du Loup, Mr Maybe, Bigger Picture, Cement Clement, and Noble Road to complete the order of finish.
Bred in Florida out of the With Approval mare Win Approval, World Approval also has victories in the 2015 Saranac Stakes (gr. IIIT) and American Derby (gr. IIIT) on his record, and has $853,450 in earnings.