Annapolis Sails to Victory in $100K Manila

July 4, 2022

ELMONT, N.Y. – Bass Racing’s Kentucky homebred Annapolis was an empathic winner for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher in Monday’s $100,000 Manila for sophomores going one-mile over the Widener turf at Belmont Park.

The win gave Pletcher a sweep of the weekend stakes at Belmont after taking both the Grade 2, $250,000 John A. Nerud with Life Is Good and the Grade 3, $250,000 Dwyer with Charge It on Saturday, as well as the $100,000 Perfect Sting with Jouster on Sunday.

“We’ve had a great weekend,” said Pletcher. “It’s been a lot of fun for the whole team and a lot of people putting in a lot of work for it. I’m grateful.”

Annapolis improved from a runner-up effort last time out when he labored over soft turf in the Grade 2 Penn Mile on June 3 at Penn National and suffered his first career defeat. The Manila was the second stakes win from four lifetime starts for the lightly-raced son of War Front.

“I can’t emphasize enough how soft the ground was at Penn,” Pletcher said of Annapolis’ last outing. “It wasn’t your normal soft turf course, it was bottomless.”

Annapolis broke from post 2 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons and settled into fourth while stablemate Chanceux set an even tempo up front, coasting through an opening quarter-mile in 23.41 seconds over the firm turf. Boston Tea Party pressed a half-length behind before coming to even terms with Chanceux as the field reached the turn. Coinage angled to the three-path with two foes to his inside to make it three across the track after a half-mile in 46.14.

It looked to be anyone’s race as the field straightened for the drive to the wire and Annapolis needed to find a seam, but Ortiz, Jr. guided him confidently to split rivals and display a powerful turn of foot down the center of the racetrack, leaving the others in his wake to fight for second. Annapolis was in hand at the sixteenth pole and strolled home a 2 3/4-length winner in a final time of 1:32.81. He returned $3.30 for a $2 win wager.

Double Clutch responded well to urging from Manny Franco to close from last and secure place honors by a half-length over Ready to Purrform. Chanceux rounded out the superfecta with Boston Tea Party, Coinage and Smokin’ T completing the order of finish. Ohtwoohthreefive was scratched.

Pletcher said he was pleased to see Annapolis find racing room in the final quarter-mile.

“He was loaded up and had plenty of horse and just needed a place to go. Fortunately, it kind of opened up and he was able to get his way through there,” said Pletcher. “He was actually a touch closer than I thought he would be. He was on his game from the beginning, but he [Ortiz, Jr.] hid him pretty well and he was able to get through and kicked on nicely. I thought it was a good gallop out.”

Ortiz, Jr. said everything worked out perfectly once Annapolis found an opening.

“Going to the quarter-pole, my horse was full of run but I had nowhere to go, honestly. I had to wait a couple of strides to get out of there,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “I was biding my time and I rode him with confidence. I was able to hold him back going to the quarter-pole and he still overcame everything. He’s a nice horse. He was much the best today.

“I got a perfect post position,” Ortiz, Jr. added. “He was there behind the speed and was able to save ground the whole way. In the stretch, I tipped him out and he responded really well.”

Pletcher had considered running Annapolis in the 10-furlong Grade 1 Caesars Belmont Derby on Saturday, but said he opted for the Manila to prepare him a stretch-out in the 1 3/16-mile Grade 1, $1 million Caesars Saratoga Derby on August 6.

“We thought really hard about the Belmont Derby but we felt doing that off of one start might be a little bit too much,” said Pletcher.” So, we figured we’d try this and get this under his belt and hopefully set us up for Saratoga. He gives me the impression [that he will stretch out].”

Manny Franco said he was proud of the last-to-second effort from Double Clutch.

“He gave me a great run in the stretch. I was following the winner in the stretch,” Franco said. “I tried to make my move before him, but my horse ran great.”

Annapolis posted a perfect 2-for-2 juvenile campaign, starting with a debut maiden victory in September at Saratoga Race Course before making a successful stakes debut in the Grade 2 Pilgrim at Belmont, registering a determined win by a head over Portfolio Company. He earned $55,000 for his Manila coup, boosting his total purse earnings to $297,600 and improving his record to 4-3-1-0.

Manila Quotes

Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Annapolis (No. 2, $3.30*) and fourth-place Chanceux (No. 1): “He was loaded up and had plenty of horse [at the quarter-pole] and just needed a place to go. Fortunately, it kind of opened up and he was able to get his way through there.

“He was actually a touch closer than I thought he would be. He was on his game from the beginning, but he [Irad Ortiz, Jr.] hid him pretty well and he was able to get through and kicked on nicely. I thought it was a good gallop out.”

On his runner-up effort last out in the Grade 2 Penn Mile over soft turf: “I can’t emphasize enough how soft the ground was at Penn. It wasn’t your normal soft turf course, it was bottomless.”

On a potential start in the Grade 1, $1 million Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational at 1 3/16-miles on August 6: “We thought really hard about the Belmont Derby but we felt doing that off of one start might be a little bit too much. So, we figured we’d try this and get this under his belt and hopefully set us up for Saratoga. He gives me the impression [that he will stretch out].”

On sweeping the long-weekend stakes at Belmont Park: “We’ve had a great weekend. It’s been a lot of fun for the whole team and a lot of people putting in a lot of work for it. I’m grateful.”

Irad Ortiz, Jr., winning jockey aboard Annapolis (No. 2): “Going to the quarter-pole, my horse was full of run but I had nowhere to go, honestly. I had to wait a couple of strides to get out of there. I was biding my time and I rode him with confidence. I was able to hold him back going to the quarter-pole and he still overcame everything. He’s a nice horse. He was much the best today.

“I got a perfect post position. He was there behind the speed and was able to save ground the whole way. In the stretch, I tipped him out and he responded really well.”

On being second as the beaten favorite in the last out G2 Penn Mile: “The only excuse I gave to Todd – I said, ‘Todd, I got a perfect trip, the track beat me today.’ My horse was trying. At the eighth pole it felt like he was going to get there and he started struggling on the track.”

Manny Franco, jockey aboard runner-up Double Clutch (No. 7): “He gave me a great run in the stretch. I was following the winner in the stretch. I tried to make my move before him, but my horse ran great.”

Winning margin: 2 3/4-lengths
Final time (one-mile Widener turf): 1:32.81
Fractions: 23.41, 46.14, 1:09.64
Full order of finish: 2-7-3-1-5-4-6

Live racing resumes Friday at Belmont with a nine-race card, featuring the $150,000 Grand Couturier in Race 4. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern. 

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the spring/summer meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Belmont Park, and the best way to bet every race of the spring/summer meet. Available to horse players nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.

Mary Eddy/NYRA Press Office
Photo: Belmont Park Logo

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