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Lubash & Hessonite Win at Belmont Park

Belmont Park
A pair of New York-breds became Grade 3 winners at Belmont Park Saturday afternoon, with Lubash coming from off a blistering pace to set a stakes record in the $150,000 Fort Marcy and Hessonite closing with a furious late rush to win the $150,000 Beaugay for turf fillies and mares.

 

Ridden by Junior Alvarado, Lubash stayed well behind King Kreesa as he took the field of six through an opening half-mile in 45.71 with three-quarters going in 1:08.54. Rounding the turn, Alvarado tipped Lubash to the outside and he drove to the lead at the top of the stretch, holding off a belated late run from Bombaguia to win by a half-length.

 

His winning time for the 1 1/16 miles over a firm Widener course was 1:38.89, just .36 seconds off the course record set by Fortitude in 1997. The previous stakes record was held by Baletti, who won the 2010 Fort Marcy in 1:40.36.

 

“I knew they were going pretty fast, and I was able to get a good position,” said Alvarado. “When I asked him, he came on pretty strong at the end.”

 

The victory was the first in a graded stakes for the 6-year-old Lubash, who had won multiple stakes against New York-breds, including the 2012 editions of the Ashley T. Cole and West Point.

 

“The winner: really nice horse, very honest, always tries,” said trainer Christophe Clement, who also saddled beaten favorite and sixth-place finisher Speaking of Which. “The next New York-bred stakes is in a month’s time [June 1 Kingston] and Mr. [Leonard] Pivnick wanted to try him and he was absolutely right and won the race, which is great.”

 

Sent off at 9-2 by the crowd of 9,151, Lubash returned $11.80 for a $2 win bet. With the winner’s purse of $90,000, he has now earned $594,379 with a record of 8-4-2 from 26 career starts.

 

Completing the order of finish behind Bombaguia were King Kreesa, Real Solution, Abilio, and Speaking of Which.

 

Alvarado also was aboard Hessonite, 2012’s New York-bred older female champion who was making her 5-year-old debut in the Beaugay.

 

Third along the rail as Suroof led through measured fractions of 25.05, 48.94 and 1:12.51, Hessonite found herself behind a wall of horses as favored Dream Peace took the lead in the stretch. Taken to the outside with less than a furlong remaining, Hessonite responded with a rousing run that carried her to a three-quarter-length victory over Peace Preserver.

 

Her time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:40.82.

 

“All I can tell you is that she was unbelievable,” said Alvarado. “Once she was clear, she took off right away, like she was coming out of the gate. It was amazing.”

 

The win was Hessonite’s fifth in her last six starts, and first in a graded stakes. The multiple New York-bred stakes winner is now 10-3-1 from 19 starts, with earnings of $803,310.

 

Hessonite returned $9.90 for a $2 win bet as the 7-2 second choice in the field of six.

 

“She looks great, that’s the best she’s ever looked, so hopefully it’s the right move bringing her back at age five for another year,” said David Donk, who trains the daughter of Freud for William J. Punk and Philip DiLeo. “It was important to win a graded races today, and maybe onto bigger and better things.”

 

Suroof finished third, followed by Naples Bay and Ruthenia. Centring, Dealbata, and Pianist were scratched.

 

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