Gunpowder Farms' Dalarna rallied from last in a seven-horse field to gain the lead in deep stretch and outkicked 4-5 favorite Let's Get Loud and longshot Harlan's Harmony by a nose, to win the $100,000 English Channel Stakes for 3-year-olds Oct. 22 at Belmont Park on the turf.
In his stakes debut, Dalarna stayed well off Fact Finding's pace, with a quarter-mile going in :23.39 and a half-mile in :46.89 on the Widener turf listed as firm. Out of the turn Dalarna, under a strong ride by jockey Nik Juarez, closed in from the outside and went by Fact Finding. With Let's Get Loud challenging in the final jumps down the center of the course and Harlan's Harmony threatening on the inside, Dalarna completed the one mile contest in 1:34.15 for trainer Kelly Rubley in a blanket finish.
Dalarna, who went off at 19-1, won his third consecutive race after taking five starts to break his maiden. The K One King colt registered his second consecutive win by a nose in a successful first appearance at Belmont.
"He's been showing us that that's what he wants to do," Rubley said. "We tried him a little closer to the pace and that was a disaster. He just really needs to get covered up and settle, and once you get him out in the clear, he just keeps coming.
Juraez, who rode Dalarna to victory Sept. 9 at Monmouth Park going one mile on the turf, said he wanted to be judicious in picking his spot.
"There was some speed in there and Kelly's and my game plan was to get him covered up and make one run and it worked out perfectly It was a perfect trip," Juraez said.
"Me and Javier (Castellano, aboard Let's Get Loud) were galloping out together and he asked me, 'Did you get it' and I said, 'I don't know,' I thought maybe the inside horse (Harlan's Harmony), in the last second, he jumped up as well. I didn't know I had him, I was just looking at the screen on the way back."
Dalarna paid $40.40, $11.60, and $5.60 across the board. The Kentucky homebred increased his career bankroll to $127,540.
Let's Get Loud, trained by Chad Brown, entered on a two-race win streak and was also making his stakes debut.
Harlan's Harmony, at 34-1 for trainer John Terranova, finished in the money for the first time in his last six starts, all against stakes company. Fact Finding, Lunaire, No Dozing, and Souper Tapit completed the order of finish.