After breaking his maiden and earning a
Beyer Speed Figure of 80, Vexor finished 42 ¾ lengths behind the winner
in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga Race Course for a figure of zero.
Trainer John Kimmel kiddingly said that
was equivalent to running backwards and suggested his son of Wildcat
Heir might be bipolar.
Returning to the races Sunday for the first time since the September 5 debacle, the Dr. Jekyll version of
Vexor reemerged at juicy odds of 18-1 and wore down Trinniberg in the
stretch to win the Grade 2, $150,000 Nashua at Belmont Park.
After tracking Trinniberg, second in the
Hopeful, through a half-mile in 45.49 seconds, Vexor engaged the
front-runner on the outside, and the two dueled through the lane. Vexor
crossed the finish three-quarters of a length in front, running the six furlongs in 1:10.71 on a track labeled good.
Ridden by David Cohen, who notched the 997th victory of his career, the Florida-bred Vexor paid $38.20 for a $2 win bet.
An elated Kimmel, who lost another talented 2-year-old, Fire On Ice, to injury this week, said Vexor had punched his ticket to the newly created Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint.
“His maiden race kind of shows it wasn’t
a fluke,” said Kimmel, who trains Vexor for Goldmark Farm. “He ran a
very good race up there [at Saratoga Race Course]. We had some question
marks after he ran so poorly in the Hopeful. It was so bad that we just
kind of had to throw the race out. He came back and had two nice works.
Today he was on the outside, tracked the speed and was there when it
counted. He’s obviously earned his way into a Breeders’ Cup Sprint race.
It was very exciting, especially after the tough week it’s been with
Fire On Ice getting hurt.”
Runner-up Trinniberg finished 4 ½ lengths in front of Seeker, followed by Jagati, Hannibal Lecter and favored She Digs Me.
“At any point, he could have gone by the
horse,” Cohen said. “It’s a long stretch, so I was just trying to save
some horse for the stretch run.”
Kimmel said his plans for the Breeders’
Cup are not solidified. Considering Vexor’s past performances, he is
hoping for a little cooperation.
“Hopefully, it doesn’t rain,” he said.