ELMONT, N.Y. – The Rudy Rodriguez-trained Doctor Jeff got the Friday stakes action at Belmont Park off to a flying start, drawing away to an authoritative three-length win in the $100,000 Atlantic Beach for 2-year-olds at six furlongs on the inner turf course.
Doctor Jeff, a $90,000 yearling purchase by Michael Dubb and Michael Caruso, posted a debut victory going six furlongs in an off-the-turf contest at Belmont on July 10 and went off with similar gusto in the Atlantic Beach.
Breaking from post 4 with Jose Lezcano aboard, Doctor Jeff got off to a sharp beginning and went straight to the front, leading the six-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 22.93 seconds and the half in 45.86 over firm going while being pressed by favorite Biz Biz Buzz. The two continued to run in tandem around the far turn, but Doctor Jeff shook off his pace rival with little trouble as the field turned for home and quickly shot away from his competition in the stretch, completing the course in 1:09.61.
“Everything went very well,” said Lezcano. “He broke well, I didn’t know if we would be on the lead, but he was comfortable the whole way. When I asked him at the quarter-pole, he took off like he was breaking out of the gate.”
Doctor Jeff, bred by James Arrison, returned $7.40 on a $2 win wager and increased his earnings to $124,500 in just his fourth career start.
The Street Boss colt had followed his debut score with two well-beaten efforts, including a distant fourth-place finish last out in the Grade 2 Pilgrim over this same course behind Annapolis and Portfolio Company, the latter of whom is among the top contenders for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf later on Friday.
After lagging behind the early pace, Maryland-invader Trust Daddy rallied up the rail to get second for trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer and owner Cassandra Orpen. Trust Daddy finished 2 ¼ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Longshadow, who was followed home by Pure Panic. Biz Biz Buzz and Here Comes Billy completed the order of finish. Tops the Chart, entered for the main-track only, was scratched.
Live racing resumes Saturday at Belmont Park with a 10-race card that includes four stakes, starting with the Grade 3, $150,000 Turnback the Alarm for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going 1 1/8 miles on the main track and also including the $200,000 Mohawk for New York-bred 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the turf; the $100,000 Chelsey Flower for 2 year-old fillies contesting at 1 1/16 miles on the turf; and the $100,000 Stewart Manor for 2-year-old fillies going six furlongs on the inner turf. First post is 12 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall 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 fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
Belmont Park Press Release
Photo: Doctor Jeff, (NYRA Photo)