Sitting in a perfect pocket trip through the 1 3/8-mile turf race, Bravo and the son of Duke of Marmalade let Starship Jubilee and Dragon Bay do the dirty work before driving home to an easy 1 1/4-length victory for trainer Graham Motion and owner Albert Frassetto.
Video: Sky Classic S. (G2T)
Starship Jubilee, a 4-year-old filly trained by Kevin Attard, was going for her sixth straight victory and third straight graded stakes win since being claimed for $16,000 at Gulfstream Park in February.
Sent to the lead rather easily under jockey Luis Contreras, the daughter of Indy Wind found herself tackled by Dragon Bay after growing a bit rank around the first turn while going a quarter-mile in :25.91. Multiple graded stakes winner Dragon Bay took the lead by a neck under jockey Gary Boulanger and carried the field through fractions of :50.92, 1:15.68, and 1:39.74 as Contreras maintained his position along the rail, keeping pressure on the leader.
As the two battled it out, Pumpkin Rumble stalked the pace on the outside, with Noble Thought sitting fifth behind Can'thelpbelieving. Husbands nudged his filly ahead of Dragon Bay and cut the corner into the stretch and looked like a winner, but could never wrestle Dragon Bay off her neck. As the two charged down the lane, Bravo tipped his odds-on gelding outside and sprinted onward to victory. Noble Thought, under Patrick Husbands, made a ferocious dash down the lane to get second but the Pin Oak Stable homebred was unable to catch the winner.
Pumpkin Rumble made a determined late run down the center of the turf course for third. Dragon Bay edged out Starship Jubilee for fourth. Galileo's Spear was never involved and finished last.
Can'thelpbelieving finished the marathon event in 2:14.95 and paid $4.10, $2.80, and $2.40 across the board.
"It makes my job a lot easier when Graham ran the best horse this afternoon," said Bravo. "It made my job easy and he's a pro. He's kind of like a barn pet because he has that personality of just 'laid back, relaxed, takes everything in stride,' but when he needs to he kind of jumps into it like he seemed to at the top of the lane today."
Can'thelpbelieving was bred in Ireland by G. Kelly, Milltownmore, and Pinnacle B/S out of the Soviet Star mare Embark. Aside from a second-place finish in his Ireland debut, Can'thelpbelieving has done all of his racing in North America. His win in the Sky Classic bolstered his record to 5-7-3 from 23 starts and was his first win of the year after hard-fought runner-up finishes in the Nijinsky Stakes (G2T) last time out at Woodbine and the United Nations Stakes (G1T) at Monmouth Park July 1. He raised his earnings to $492,491.