Bayrir found American soil and 1 ¼ miles to his liking, as the His
Highness the Aga Khan’s French-bred Medicean colt shipped over and swept
by a good group of 3-year-old turf males to win the Grade I $500,000
Secretariat Stakes on Saturday at Arlington Park.
The domestic crowd dispatched Bayrir as the third choice behind
graded stakes winners Silver Max and Summer Front, but Bayrir left no
doubt about his superiority as jockey Christophe Lemaire had no problem
blowing by the field in the final quarter mile. Time for the 1 ¼ miles
on good turf was 2:02.92.
“I think he’s a very good horse because
he’s very calm,” trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre said. “We had a good pace
in the race, and he has a good turn of foot.”
Silver Max set the
pace as expected and was mostly unchallenged through splits of 24.65
seconds, 48.94 second and 1:13.25 before Irish invader Daddy Long Legs
pressed him entering the far turn. Silver Max held sway with him as
Summer Front made a three-wide move turning for home, but that trio was
no match for Bayrir.
“It wasn’t the plan [to be far back early],
but the race started out very quickly,” Lemaire said. “I let my horse
get into the race, and on the backstretch he was racing very well, and
he took the bit on his own around the last corner. When I put him out he
reacted very well.”
Silver Max faded to fifth while his
stablemate from the barn of Dale Romans, Finnegans Wake, got up for
second over a tiring Summer Front.
“I don’t know where Daddy Long
Legs was going, but I don’t understand how he was trying to win the
race with that move,” Romans said. “Finnegans Wake ran huge. He’s just
going to get better, especially the further they go.”
The losses snapped a six-race winning streak for Silver Max and an undefeated on the turf five-race streak for Summer Front.
“We’ll live to fight another day,” Summer Front’s trainer, Chrisophe Clement, said.
who paid $8.40, $4.80 and $3.60, improved his record to four wins from
five starts with earnings of $441,008. Finnegans Wake paid $6.40 and
$3.60. Summer Front returned $3.40.
Handsome Mike, Silver Max, Cozzetti, All Stormy and Daddy Long Legs completed the order of finish.