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Bribon Sharp in True North

The veteran gelding Bribon returned to the scene of his greatest triumph Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park, charging from last to first for a 1½-length victory over Snapshot in the 32nd running of the Grade 2, $250,000 True North Handicap.

 

The 7-year-old son of Mark of Esteem, who last year won Belmont Park’s prestigious Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, stayed well behind Checklist’s opening fractions of 22.49 and 45.60, then barreled widest of all as they straightened for home, taking command with 100 yards to go and completing six furlongs in 1:09.63 over the fast track.

 

“There were quite a few horses with speed and I just needed to find a place for him to settle into a simple rhythm, and then quicken when I asked him,” said winning rider Garrett Gomez of Bribon, who is owned by Derrick Smith and trained by Todd Pletcher. “He picked them up with ease and came home with ease – just the way you’d like.”

 

Favored Checklist, also trained by Pletcher, held for third, 4¼ lengths back, and was followed by Formidable, Elusive Warning, More Than a Reason, Fantasy Free, and Gato Go Win.

 

Custom for Carlos, the morning-line favorite, was scratched with a minor foot injury. Strasbourg was also scratched.

 

With the victory, his first on dirt since the 2009 Met Mile, Bribon extended his lifetime record to 10-9-3 from 33 starts and became a millionaire in the process, with earnings of $1,028,763.

 

He returned $7.50 for a $2 win bet.

 

“I thought with Quality Road going to the [2010] Met Mile, it could open a lot of options for Bribon,” said Pletcher. “He had won at [age] 6 and 7 and he’s just a very versatile horse.

 

“I thought Checklist ran huge,” he added. “The Vanderbilt [Grade 1, August 8, Saratoga Race Course] is a possibility for both; we’ll play it by ear.”

 

The True North was one of five graded stakes on the undercard for the 142nd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes.

 

 

 

 

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