Pure Sensation tracked Power Alert through blistering early fractions and caught the pacesetter right at the wire to win the inaugural running of the $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational on Super Saturday at Belmont Park.
Hugging the rail under Kendrick Carmouche as Power Alert zipped through an opening quarter-mile in 21.86 seconds and a half in 44.49, Pure Sensation took aim on the front-runner once straightened for home. Digging in gamely, Power Alert refused to give way but Pure Sensation prevailed after a stretch-long battle to win by a head.
His time for six furlongs over the firm Widener course was 1:07.10
"Mike Smith [aboard Power Alert] wanted the lead and [trainer Christophe Clement] just wanted me to let the horse be comfortable in whatever position he was in," said Carmouche. "I was sitting in the perfect spot. I just had to wait on the opening and the horse pretty much did the rest.
"He's very game," added the jockey. "He's really not a good closer from way out of it, but he has closed with me in the Turf Monster last year. I had faith in him that he could do it again and he did."
The victory was the seventh in 17 starts for the homebred gelded son of Zensational, who has now earned $838,415 for owner Patricia Generazio. Sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of nine, Pure Sensation returned $6.30 for a $2 win bet as he notched his third straight stakes win to go with the Grade 3 Jaipur and the Grade 3 Parx Dash.
"It was a fun race," said winning trainer Christophe Clement. "I was surprised not to be on the lead but he rode a great race, never panicked. He just sat there near the pace. Mike Smith is always dangerous on the lead so I was worried about him because he never goes too fast. Watching the race I thought, 'OK, we're having a great trip, saving ground.' And the funny thing about that horse is that he is very good and he just keeps overcoming me."
Green Mask was along for third, three-quarters of a length behind Power Alert, with Disco Partner checking in fourth. Ready for Rye, Long On Value, Pool Winner, Triple Burner and Sallal completed the order of finish. Holding Gold was scratched.
Source: NYRA (Jenny Kellner)