Effinex wins the 2016 Suburban.

Effinex wins the 2016 Suburban.

Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand

Effinex Repeats in Suburban Handicap

Becomes first horse to win back to back editions since Devil His Due.

Tri-Bone Stables' Effinex defended his title in the $500,000 Suburban Handicap (gr. II) July 9 at Belmnont Park, but he had to grind all the way to the wire to do so. 

Video: Suburban H. (G2)

Stalking a slow early pace set by longshot Samraat, the 5-year-old son of Mineshaft  trained by Jimmy Jerkens and ridden by Mike Smith just outdueled the frontrunner in the stretch to win the 1 1/4-mile test.

On Saturday, Smith guided Effinex into a stalking position early, racing about a length off 11-1 Samraat, who set fractions of :25.31, :49.37, and 1:12.70 through six furlongs. The top pair began their duel at the top of the stretch and Effinex prevailed by a neck on the outside to hit the wire in 2:01.04.

"All things came together," Jerkens said. "I guess he's a natural at a mile and a quarter. He's a grinder. It looks like he can outgrind anybody out there, it looks like. We'll take it."

Effinex became the first horse to win the Suburban back-to-back since Jerkens' father, the late H. Allen Jerkens, did it in 1993-94 with Devil His Due. Smith was also aboard Devil His Due in the 1994 victory.

"I always loved this race," Jerkens said. "When I was a little kid, my father won this race a bunch of times with Beau Purple. He used to love to run in it any chance he could. He was a New York guy and those New York handicap races always meant a lot to him, and to me too. It's great to win here."

Off as the slight second choice in the field of seven, the winner paid $6.30, $4, and $2.80 across the board. Samraat brought $10.40 and $6.10, and Mubtaahij, the 2-1 favorite, brought $3 to show.

The Suburban was Effinex's fifth graded stakes victory. He has $2,962,950 in earnings and a record of 9-2-4 from 24 starts.

Eagle  made mild gains from sixth to finish fourth, followed by Shaman Ghost , Turco Bravo, and Tapin Mojo, to complete the order of finish.