LNJ Foxwoods's UNITED rebounded from his previous loss in a big way, passing top contender SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT in deep stretch to capture Saturday's $250K Eddie Read Stakes (G2) at Del Mar.
The chestnut son of GIANT'S CAUSEWAY is now a two-time winner of the Eddie Read, having won it last year as the favorite, and in a quicker time.
Sent off as the 3-1 second choice, and ridden by Flavien Prat, UNITED raced in fifth but only two lengths off of pacesetter AWARD WINNER who set early fractions of 25.19 and 49.43. It was a slow pace for the nine-furlong distance, and UNITED raced covered up behind horses.
"I could tell the fractions were slow; I could feel it," said winning jockey Flavien Prat. "But my horse was travelling well and he was comfortable. I knew his last race wasn't his real race and I felt he'd run better today. The only question was being able to get out. He did and ran well through the lane. He's back." (Paulick Report)
Turning for home, Prat rouses UNITED for more run, and they make a three-wide move for the lead. But SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT got first run and was the one to catch. When they straighten away, there was no stopping UNITED; he set dead aim on his rival and closed in with each and every stride, tagging SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT before the wire. SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT settled for second. COUNT AGAIN got up for third. The final time was 1:49.49.
UNITED paid $8.60 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.80 to show. He is by GIANT'S CAUSEWAY out of INDY PUNCH by PULLING PUNCHES. He defends his Eddie Read title, notches his sixth graded stakes victory, and pushes his earnings to $1,675,549.
"He ran well and I'm very proud of him," said trainer Richard Mandella. "He was coming off a terrible race, I've never had him run that bad. We worried and watched and did every test you can do on him and we found a bruise under his shoe two weeks old. It didn't seem like that big a deal, but it must have been. We'll probably look at the Del Mar Handicap next."