Benevengo Blazes Gate-to-Wire in Polynesian 

September 24, 2022

BALTIMORE, Md. – Wasabi Ventures Stables LLC’s Benevengo, a former $25,000 claimer who finished fifth in the Haskell (G1) last time out, went gate-to-wire Saturday to win the $100,000 Polynesian by 7 ½ lengths.

A 3-year-old son of Gormley trained by Jesus Cruz and ridden by Angel Cruz, Benevengo covered the 1 1/16-mile in 1:43.62. Double Crown was second and Rough Sea was third.

Claimed out of his winning debut at Tampa in February for $25,000, Benevengo has won three of six starts, all three gate-to-wire. Breaking on top in the Polynesian, Benevengo cruised through fractions of :23.64, :47 and 1:11.10. Sea Foam, who broke a bit awkwardly, chased the winner from second but couldn’t get close down the stretch.

“When I saw [Sea Foam] didn’t break good I just took the lead and hoped for a slow pace,” said Angel Cruz.

“When I saw the 47 I said that it’s over,” said Jesus Cruz.

Benevengo, who has now beaten older horses twice, may start next in the Claiming Crown at Churchill Downs.

The Polynesian is named for the 1945 Preakness (G1) winner that put together a record of 27-10-10 with purse earnings of $310,410 from 1944-47, 16 of his victories coming in stakes. Named the U.S. champion sprinter in 1947, he went on to a successful stud career most notably as the sire of Hall of Famer Native Dancer, the 1953 Preakness winner, and grandsire of 1966 Preakness winner Kauai King.

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
Photo by Maryland Jockey Club

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