Far Bridge emerged victorious in the USD750,000 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes on Saturday at the inner turf of Belmont Park, earning his first Grade 1 victory in his maiden attempt under that level. The three-year-old colt out of English Channel and Fitpitcher defeated 10 other horses to earn the top honors in the 1 1/4-mile race at two minutes and 01.75 seconds. Far Bridge, who relied on the expert handling of jockey Jose Ortiz, won by one length over The Foxes. Tabbed by horseracing oddsmakers as the second choice, the Todd Pletcher-trained thoroughbred did not disappoint as he overtook the rest of the field in the final stages of the race and held on to edge hard-charging The Foxes. It was the third win for Far Bridge in five starts and it broke the two-race skid where he finished second in both events.
Started From the Back of the Field
Far Bridge had a not so amazing start in the race, as he was bumped to the rear of the field. Ortiz kept his horse tucked along the rail as other horses charge to the front. The three-year-old gained pace and overtook his rivals in the second half of the race and had the lead near the final sixteenth. He overtook Mondego and Silver Knott then quelled the rally of top favorite The Foxes to earn the win. After the race, Ortiz said that an equipment change led to the victory as he admitted that Far Bridge is difficult to ride.
It was the fourth win for Ortiz that day and his 59th in the spring-summer season. He is four ahead of brother Irad Ortiz Jr going into Sunday’s races. Mondego finished third while Webslinger took fourth. Silver Knott, Mendelssohns March, Redistricting, Kalik, Wizard of Westwood, Cyber Ninja and Boppy O completed the order of finish.
Far Bridge Shines at Belmont Derby: Trainer Targets Saratoga Derby
According to Ortiz, he will still work hard to win the spring-summer meet despite leading by four over his brother. Jose said that he remembered the feat of jockey Eric Cancel, who overcame a six-race deficit in the final day of the 2021 Aqueduct winter meet and secured the individual title. Meanwhile, Pletcher said that they are targeting the Grade 1 Saratoga Derby as the next race for Far Bridge. The derby will be held on August 5 and will be run at a distance of 1 3/16 miles. The winner of the race will be given an automatic ticket into the Group 1, USD3.3-million Cox Plate in Melbourne’s Moonee Valley in October.
Far Bridge earned USD412,500 for the win and boosted his record to 3-2-0 (first-second-third). The Foxes, who in June placed fifth in the Epsom Derby, made his first start outside Europe and impressed everyone despite his placing. Jockey Olsin Murphy suggested that his horse could have won if he had a strong start. Murphy will be in France on Sunday to ride Chaldean in the Grade 1 Prix Jean Prat at Deauxville.
Verifying Edge Raise Cain to Win Indiana Derby
Verifying edged past Raise Cain to take home the USD300,000 Indiana Derby on Saturday at the Horseshoe Indianapolis. The 2-5 favorite, who began the race in second behind Transect, surged on the far turn and held off the surging Raise Cain to get the victory in the Grade 3 event. Jockey Marcelino Pedroza guided the colt out of Justify within the reach of early pacer Transect and started his move in the back stretch. Verifying continued his charge at the far turn with Georgie W chasing him. He kept his lead at the homestretch and kept hard-charging Raise Cain chasing until the finish line. Trainer Brad Cox said that he sees the horse winning a Grade 1 event in the future. Cagliostro finished third while Transect, Georgie W, Onthestage and Hayes Strike came in fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh places, respectively.
Verifying’s Trainer Looks to Win Grade 1 Races
Cox said that he will target an upcoming Grade 1 event in the future. It is still unknown which race will the trainer registers his horse to compete. The likely Grade 1 events that Verifying might race are the seven-furlong H. Allen Jerkens Memorial and the 1 1/4-mile Travers both at Saratoga or the 1 1/8-mile Pennsylvania Derby at Parx. Verifying is one of the exciting three-year-old horses in the US soil as of the moment. He is trying to prove that his disappointing 16th-place finish at the Kentucky Derby was just a fluke. In two races, Verifying has proven that he is still contending for the top spot. Before winning the Indiana Derby, he surprised online sports betting aficionados by placing second in the Matt Winn Stakes. The future looks bright for him if he keeps on placing within the top three in his upcoming races.