Patiently ridden by Jose Lezcano, Declan’s Warrior took
advantage of a multi-horse scramble for the early lead and charged down
the center of the
track to overtake Clearly Now and upset the Grade 3, $250,000 Bay Shore
by a head on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Off at odds of 12-1, Declan’s Warrior raced in seventh as
Retreive, Salutos Amigos, and Clearly Now battled for the lead through
an opening quarter-mile in 22.03 seconds.
Lezcano kept Declan’s Warrior near the rail on the far turn, then took
his mount outside as the field of nine 3-year-old sprinters turned for
Clearly Now, the 3-1 second choice, emerged with a tenuous lead
in midstretch, but Declan’s Warrior gradually bridged the gap and shot
past the leader with 20 yards
“I was a little worried because there was so much speed today,
but I had to ride my horse the way he wants to run – let him sit and try
to catch them at the end,” said
Lezcano. “He did it. When I asked him the last part he really kicked
good and won the race.”
Declan’s Warrior returned $26.40 for a $2 win wager and completed seven furlongs in 1:22.09.
The Bay Shore was Declan’s Warrior’s first start in
New York since his debut, a neck victory in October at
Belmont. He made a pair of starts in
Park optional claimers over the winter, finishing second in February and dead-heating for the win in March.
Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito said Declan’s Warrior does his best running as a come-from-behind sprinter.
“First time he ran, breaking his maiden at
that’s how he came,” said Zito. “He came with a run. I told Jose, don’t
take him out of his game, because that’s a no-no. We’ve done that since
we were kids, you know, you take a horse
out of their game, and it never works. In this particular situation, it
worked out. The speed got going, and he got going in the end.”
Zito’s wife, Kim, owns Declan’s Warrior. The homebred son of Majestic Warrior has earned $217,770.
The Truth and K G finished third, beaten three lengths. He was 1
¼ lengths ahead of fourth-place finisher Salutos Amigos, who was
followed home by Honorable Dillon,
favored Maleeh, Retreive, Clawback, and Silver Morgan.