FOXWOODS KING'S BISHOP STAKES | PURSE: $500,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 1 | 7 FURLONGS
Bouncing right back from a stakes romp just three days earlier, Willy Beamin closed with a rush to capture the $500,000 Foxwoods King's Bishop in his graded stakes debut Aug. 25 at Saratoga Race Course.
The New York-bred gelding, a $25,000 claim by Rick Dutrow Jr. for owner James Riccio at Aqueduct Racecourse March 23, posted his sixth consecutive win while going off at odds of 11-1. Willy Beamin won the 1 1/8-mile Albany Stakes over state-breds by 6 1/4 lengths Aug. 22.
Ridden again by Alan Garcia, Willy Beamin won the King's Bishop, a seven-furlong event for 3-year-olds, by a half-length in a time of 1:22.02 on a fast track.
Willy Beamin charged home from sixth at mid-stretch to win drawing away in the final strides. Fort Loudon nosed out Unbridled's Note for second, with Doctor Chit fourth.
Currency Swap, the 9-5 pick in the field of 10, lost for the first time in four starts at Saratoga while running sixth. Second choice Trinniberg also finished off the board in ninth after setting a quick pace and weakening in the stretch.
"Unbelievable," exclaimed Riccio, who has been claiming horses for many years. "He started getting good, good, good. The other day [after the Albany] he had a lot left in the tank, and he didn't even really ask him to run. Dutrow is great at that. They run better the second time."
Dutrow was at Aqueduct overseeing his stable there and did not make the trip to upstate New York.
Asked about Willy Beamin's next likely start, Riccio said: "We didn't look that far down the road, but you never know. Rick might have something up his sleeve. What's today, Saturday? There's something Thursday, but they drew already."
Willy Beamin, now 6-for-7 this year, is a gelding by Suave out of the Gold Token mare Big Tease bred by Patricia Staskowski Purdy.
The bay sold for $16,000 at Fasig-Tipton in Kentucky as yearling in October 2010. He raced for MeB Racing Stables and trainer Dominic Schettino until being claimed out of 5 3/4-length win in a one-mile race at Aqueduct. The victory was his first in the current streak, which in addition to Albany also included a four-length romp in the Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont Park June 24.
Trinniberg as expected showed the way after wresting the early advantage from Doctor Chit to lead by about a length while clipping off quarter-mile splits of :22.28 and :45.13. Trinniberg, though, was swallowed in the homestretch as a wall of horses rallied.
Amsterdam Stakes winner Currency Swap, with a bold move, challenged Doctor Chit for the lead at mid-stretch but failed to last in the charge to the wire while pressed by Fort Loudon and Unbridled's Note.
Willy Beamin was allowed to drop back to eighth in the opening half-mile by Garcia. He progressed around the turn while given encouragement and wound up his bid under urging approaching mid-stretch on the outside. Willy Beamin grabbed the lead in the final 70 yards en route to victory after picking off his rivals impressively.
"He ran a very good race," Garcia said. "The speed went on and my horse was comfortable all the way through. Turning for home I was looking for room and I angled out and he did it."
Fort Loudon, ridden by Junior Alvarado, overcame Unbridled's Note and Julien Leparoux for second.
Willy Beamin posted his seventh lifetime win in 11 races and nearly doubled his career earnings to $609,545 with the $300,000 winning purse.
The winner paid $24.80, $11.80, and $6.90 while keying a $376 exacta with Fort Loudon. The latter, showing much improvement off a fifth-place finish in the Amsterdam, returned $13.20 and $7.90 in a game try. Unbridled's Note, also third in the Amsterdam, altered course in the lane and nearly lasted for second. He paid $7.70.
Doctor Chit, who led at the furlong pole, finished three-quarters of a length farther behind in fourth. Then came Laurie's Rocket, Currency Swap, Ever So Lucky, Spin Out, Trinniberg, and Gun Boat.
"I think he wasn't really comfortable on the rail," trainer Terri Pompay said of the beaten favorite. "He's better when he can get out and make a big run. When they turned for home, and he wasn't able to get him out, I knew it was going to be tough."