Bea Oxenberg's Best of the Rest notched his third consecutive stakes victory in Monday's $100,000 Memorial Day Handicap (gr. III) at Calder Racecourse.
Ridden by jockey Cornelio Velasquez, Best of the Rest stalked front-running Hal's Hope before collaring the pacesetter nearing the quarter pole. Best of the Rest then drew off down the stretch to defeat High Ideal by a half-length, with Hal's Hope 2 1/2 lengths farther back in third. Dancing Guy finished fourth in the four-horse field.
The 7-10 favorite, Best of the rest returned $3.40 and $2.80 as he completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.75. High Ideal was worth $6.00; there was no show wagering.
A son of Skip Trial, Best of the Rest has won 12 of 22 starts and earned $594,296. Previous to the Memorial Day Handicap, the gray 7-year-old trained by Eddie Plesa, Jr. won the Phantom on Tour Handicap at Calder and the Unbridled Handicap at Gulfstream.
Plesa said he did not think it was fair that Best of the Rest was conceding six pounds (123 to 117) to dual grade I winner Hal's Hope but that his horse was able to overcome the handicap.
"Going in, I didn't think the weights were fair, but that's the racing secretary's job," Plesa said. "I just hope the next place doesn't pay too much attention. We're here and this was the race to get him to the next step. Finally, he got his graded stakes win and the weight didn't stop the train."
Plesa said the $400,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) on July 6 was the next probable race for Best of the Rest.