Optimizer spent the first 12 races of his career as a deep closer on
dirt. But something happened in his second time on turf that enabled
Optimizer to display early speed he had never before shown.
One start after wiring a group that included older horses in a
first-level optional $35,000 claimer at Saratoga, Optimizer used his
newfound speed to take Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,625 Kent Stakes for
3-year-olds at Delaware Park.
Optimizer ($8.40), ridden by Jon Court, pressured Excaper throughout
the first seven furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile Kent. Excaper, ridden by Alex
Solis, set contested fractions of 46.99 seconds and 1:10.70 racing on a
firm course with the rails 15 feet out. Turning for home, Optimizer
pushed past Excaper and drew clear in deep stretch to score by 4 1/4l