Vinery Stables’ Chief’s Lake, making his second start in eight months, scored a 3 1/4-length victory Sunday in the $107,700 Mike Lee for New York-breds at seven furlongs.
The Yonaguska gelding, ridden by Garrett Gomez, improved his record at Belmont Park to four wins from five starts.
After an early scramble for the lead, even-money favorite What a Tale took to the forefront for a first quarter of :22.67 and a half of :45.40, but never could shake away from his five rivals.
As they entered the stretch, the Steve Asmussen trained Chief’s Lake got the lead and then separated himself from the rest. He won in 1:23.14 on the fast track.
After winning the Sleepy Hollow as a 2-year-old at Belmont on New York Showcase Day last October, Chief’s Lake did not run again until May 9, when he finished third to Bustin Stones in an overnight race. Overall, Chief's Lake has won four of seven lifetime with one second and one third and earnings of $187,030.
The Mike Lee is the first leg of the OTBs’ Big Apple Triple. The series now heads to Finger Lakes for the $150,000 New York Derby at a 1 1/16 miles on July 14, and concludes with the $150,000, nine-furlong Albany at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 22. If a horse can sweep all three races, its owner will receive a $250,000 bonus.
Stunt Man was second, followed by a half-length by Dr. V’s Magic. Berry Bound, What a Tale and I’m a Numbers Guy followed.
Chief's Lake paid $8.90, $4.80 and $3.50. Stunt Man returned $13 and $4.70. Dr. V's Magic paid $4 to show.