It was an important win for the 5-year-old Irish-bred Sudan, who is expected to contend in marathon turf events this summer and fall for Frankel and owner Gary Tanaka. The final time for the 1 3/8-mile race on a windy day at Golden Gate was 2:16.83, nearly four seconds slower than John Henry's 1984 track mark (2:13).
Ridden by David Flores, Sudan established command early and led by as much as 10 lengths before easing off in the stretch run to win by four under some urging. The son of Peintre Celebre was never challenged after leading by two lengths while completing the opening quarter mile in :24.70. We Brothers tried to stick close through the first half of the race as they completed the half in :49 and six furlongs in 1:14.04. But as they approached the final turn Sudan was increasing his advantage by every stride and held an insurmountable lead as he reached the head of the stretch.
"I just wanted to let him get comfortable," said Flores. "He was on the bit and I didn't want to choke him down. There was no one to go with him and he was cruising."
Sudan gained a tactical edge when the expected pacesetter, Plug Me In, was scratched by trainer Marcelo Polanco.
Flores turned Sudan loose after seven furlongs.
"The last half-mile I decided to just let him go on," said Flores. "I didn't want any surprises. I didn't even look back, I just rode my race. Bobby Frankel is a great trainer and he had this horse ready to roll. I was just a passenger."
The Argentina-bred Fitz Flag, ridden by G.F. Almeida, made a bid along the inside to get second by a length over second choice Uffizi, with Russell Baze aboard. It was two lengths back to Fire Wood, who edged Amazin Blue by a neck for fourth. We Brothers was eased in the stretch but walked off.
Sudan began his career in France for conditioner Elie Lellouche and won the Gran Premio di Milano (Ity-I) last June. After a vacation of nearly six months, the chestnut's first two starts in the U.S. resulted in an eighth-place finish in San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Feb. 23 and a third-place effort in the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park May 10.
Sent off at odds of 13-10, Sudan paid $4.60, $3.40, and $2.10. Fitz Flag returned $4.40 and $2.20. Uffizi was $2.10 to show.
Sudan, who is out of the Woodman mare Sarabande, earned $60,000 for his third lifetime win in 15 starts, boosting his bankroll to $452,038.
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