HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Frederick Lenclud may still be an apprentice jockey, but he looked like a polished veteran guiding Bearpath to a three-quarter-length upset victory over 8-5 favorite Never On Sunday in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Pan American Handicap at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Ian Wilkes reunited Lenclud with Bearpath in the Pan American. Lenclud, who still rides with a five-pound allowance at Oaklawn Park, had been aboard Bearpath for each of his three previous victories, including one in a second-level allowance at 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs in his 3-year-old finale.
With Brother Nick setting a slow pace in the Pan Am, a 1 1/2-mile race, Lenclud placed Bearpath in perfect striking position just outside and behind the leader. Brother Nick set fractions of :26.02 seconds, 52.75, and 1:18.54 for the first six furlongs over a course officially listed as "good," and he still held a short advantage entering the stretch.
Bearpath was sent up to challenge for the lead once he settled into the stretch, gained a short advantage inside the eighth pole, then was fully extended to withstand a belated rally from 123-pound highweight Never On Sunday.
Brother Nick succumbed grudgingly, finishing another neck back in third. Winchester, who went off at 8-5, was shuffled back between horses leaving the quarter pole and finished an unlucky fourth.
Bearpath is owned by the Lothenbach Stables. He completed the distance in 2:32.60 and paid $40.80.
"He's ridden him four times and won three, so he knows him," Wilkes said of Lenclud. "In fact, he was Frederic's first winner when Bearpath broke his maiden. That was the turning point for him. We've found out this is what he wants to do, run a mile and a half, and that's what we'll keep him doing"
Wilkes said Bearpath will probably make his next start April 23 at Keeneland in the Elkhorn Stakes.