Art collector goes wire-to-wire in Woodward Stakes – Reuters

Art Collector wins the G1 Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park.

Art Collector planted their flag among the best in the older men’s division and claimed their first Grade 1 win on Saturday with a lead triumph in the Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park.

Bernardini’s 4-year-old colt was put in the lead early by jockey Luis Saez, challenged on the outside by longshot Mo Gotcha. These two set an opening quarter-mile time of: 24.02 seconds, followed by a tight group of Forza Di Oro, Code of Honor and favorite Maxfield, with Dr Post behind by several lengths .

Positions remained relatively unchanged on the back stretch of Belmont, with Art Collector completing a half mile in 47.78 seconds, half a length ahead of Mo Gotcha.

The contenders behind the leading duo began to rise to their challenges as the peloton headed into the bend, led by Forza Di Oro on the outside, joined by Dr Post making his move far back and far outside ‘outside. Meanwhile, Maxfield approached the inside and moved away from the train tracks to challenge Art Collector, as Mo Gotcha disappeared. Code of Honor also began to threaten from within.

While many horses loomed, none of them were able to get close to Art Collector, who added to his two-length cushion at the top of the stretch under constant pressure from Saez. After using the whip in his right hand, Saez flipped his harvest to his left hand and flashed it at Art Collector repeatedly in the final eighth of a mile, helping him fend off any semblance of challenge from his rivals and to win the Woodward by 1 1/2 lengths over Maxfield. Dr. Post ran evenly down the stretch to finish a length behind Maxfield in third.

Art Collector finished the 1 1/8 mile race in 1:49.22 on a fast main track. He paid $7.50 to win as the field’s second pick.

With the win, Art Collector improved his lifetime record to eight wins in 15 starts for earnings of $1,535,305. He’s undefeated in three starts since joining trainer Bill Mott’s barn earlier this year, including victories in the Alydar Stakes in Saratoga and the G2 Charles Town Classic Stakes.

Art Collector races as the strain of Bruce Lunsford, out of the Grade 1 winning mare Distorted Humor Distorted Legacy.

To see Equibase’s full chart, click here.

Issue Quotes Courtesy NYRA Press Office

Bill Mott, Art Collector winning trainer (#3, $7.50) and fifth place Forza Di Oro (#6): “Great race, great race. He put three together. He’s a nice horse. He did just enough to beat his business. Each one probably got a little tougher. It was tougher today, but he got away with it.

“He was in great shape. He had the winter free and he was a cool horse. They raced him at Churchill once going seven-eights. It was a weird race. He didn’t do the greatest trip. When he came to see me he had a race under his belt and was ready to go. He’s been fine since we got him. With the race I think he’s gotten stronger and better and today is the result today.

” He got lucky. Louis [Saez] gets him out well and puts him in a good position and that’s important.

Going from three corners in the Charles Town Classic to one corner in the Woodward: “He’s a pretty smart horse. He has a good temper because it didn’t faze him.

On the potential start of the Breeders’ Cup Grade 1 Classic: “I’m not afraid. I’ll talk to [owner] Sir. [Bruce] Lunsford. He makes the final decision, but I don’t know what we have to lose. I would run him a mile and a quarter. A mile and an eighth wasn’t a problem for him, so why should I reduce it? »

Luis Saez, winning jockey aboard Art Collector (n°3): “It was a wonderful race. I had great confidence in my horse. He always tries so hard. He always comes with a run and ends with a run and today he ran his run. We expected to be in the lead. He broke so well and he was able to control the pace. It was an exciting race.

On his confidence coming home: “I felt pretty good. I felt like I had a lot of power and a lot of horsepower and when I asked he took off.

Brendan Walsh, runner-up trainer and beaten favorite Maxfield (No. 2): “I don’t know if we had a lot of excuses. We had a good seat even if it was a little inside. All credit to the winner. He had a good race and he is a good horse. We had a good race to be second. This horse never lets us down.

” I do not think so [the blinkers] makes quite a difference. They were certainly not negative in any way. Jose [Ortiz] said he had a good race and found the speeds he wanted him to find, but just got passed by a horse that was better that day.

On a potential start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic: “He still hasn’t done anything wrong. Every race is different and our day will come too. I don’t see why not.

Jose Ortiz, jockey aboard the vice-champion Maxfield (n°2): “I had a good trip. I followed the horse that won and finished second.

Irad Ortiz, Jr. jockey aboard the third Dr. Post (#1): “He ran very well. He did everything right, he has just been beaten by two beautiful horses.

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Norma D. Ross