Godolphin LLC's YIBIR lagged at the rear of the field under jockey Jamie Spencer before circling six-wide into the stretch and storming home impressively to win Saturday's Win and You're In $1,000,000 Jockey Club Derby at Belmont Park.
This victory secured his spot in the 2021 $4-million Longines Breeder's Cup Turf (G1) on November 6th at Del Mar.
Sent off at odds of 2-1, YIBIR was lackadaisical out of the gate and had to be nudged forward by Jamie Spencer to keep up, while pacesetter TANGO TANGO TANGO and presser SLICKED BACK ticked opening quarters in 25.37, 49.45, and 1:14.46.
They bunched up leaving the backside while positions remained unchanged. YIBIR was the first under a ride, but remained well within striking distance. All horses looked poised for a stampede to the wire. But Jamie Spencer and YIBIR had other plans.
YIBIR was circled six-wide and blew right on by as if the others were standing still, putting an immediate 2 1/2-length distance between him and his pursuers, and carrying on strongly through the wire.
"I was confident going in. He ran a good race and fared well in the stretch," Spencer said. "I'm happy with his performance today. He's a nice horse and it was a good trip."
SOLDIER RISING, whose run was momentarily stalled due to traffic, closed with good energy to be second. His rider Irad Ortiz Jr. offered comments after the race:
"He ran well, he just got beat by a good horse," Ortiz, Jr. said. "I wish I could get out earlier than the quarter pole. He takes some time to get going. When I finally got out of there in the clear, the other horse [Yibir] was full of run already. When he hit the clear, he started getting there. He took a couple of strides and he kicked on. No excuses, he was just second best. He's a nice horse."
SLICKED BACK finished third. The final time for the 1 1/2 mile over the Widener Turf was 2:26.23 on a turf listed as Firm.
YIBIR paid $7.30 to win, $3.50 to place, and $3.40 to show. He is a Chestnut Gelding by DUBAWI out of RUMH by MONSUN. He's won two 12-furlong races in a row, pushed his earnings to $815,580, and achieved an ESF rating of 112 for the effort.
Winning trainer Charlie Appleby was represented by travelling assistant, Chris Connet, who said of YIBIR after the race: "He can be a bit of a quirky character, so it was more of a matter of if he kept his head right. When they jumped out and wasn't really going a lick, I thought ‘Oh, he's never done that before,', but Jamie gave him a great ride and coaxed him into it. Once he started to roll, he's got some engine on him."
Source: PastTheWire, Equibase