Durante simply uncatchable in the Bold Ruler (NYRA/Coglianese)
By Ryan Martin – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK N.Y.— JKX Racing and trainer David Jacobson’s Durante broke sharp from the gate and never looked back en route to a gate-to-wire score as the 6-5 favorite in Friday’s 48th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler for 3-year-olds and upward going six furlongs at Belmont at the Big A.
Durante, by Distorted Humor, entered from a close runner-up finish to fellow Bold Ruler contestant Cowan in a local six-furlong allowance optional claimer contested over a sloppy and sealed main track on October 14. That effort ended a four-race winning streak for Durante, who previously earned open-lengths sprinting scores at Penn National, Saratoga Race Course and Belmont at the Big A.
Breaking from post 2 under Manny Franco, Durante set a swift early tempo with dual stakes-winner Provocateur and Cowan keeping close company a respective second and third through an opening quarter-mile in 21.92 seconds over the fast main track. Around the far turn, Cowan crept closer to his familiar foe with Provocateur backpedaling in between horses from third through a half-mile in 44.87.
Durante kicked clear from Cowan with a four-length advantage at the stretch call. Multiple stakes-winner Twisted Ride and Grade 1-placed High Oak both launched late rallies in the final furlong, but there was no catching Durante, who crossed the wire a 2 3/4-length winner in a final time of 1:09.78. High Oak finished a head better than Twisted Ride, who finished third.
Completing the order of finish were the Jacobson-trained Stage Left, Cowan, Five Dreams, Jeff Fa Fa, and Provocateur. Pirate Rick was scratched.
Franco was piloting Durante for the fourth straight start, and said an off track last out may have hampered his chances.
“The last time on the wet track – he didn’t like that at all – but he still wanted to win that race. Today, on a dry track, he was the horse that I know and he got it done,” Franco said. “He likes to run free. He’s a speed horse and I just break from the inside running. I kept improving my position, and when I saw I put away those two horses, I knew I was going to be hard to beat because he was running in the stretch.”
Durante, who paid $4.40 for a $2 win wager, made his first graded stakes appearance since finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity in December 2021.
“We got him out in California and he’s able to carry his speed – a lot of these California horses enjoy the East Coast. There’s no getting around that.” said Jacobson. “I think it’s a combination of the weather and the track. They seem to do well here and it just feels good to have a nice horse in my barn again.”
Durante made his first start for Jacobson on August 2 at Penn National, winning a six-furlong allowance by six lengths. He was previously trained by Keith Craigmyle, who claimed him from original trainer Doug O’Neill last summer.
“We started him off against easier competition at Penn National the first time and graduated up,” Jacobson said. “His win at Saratoga was a tough race and I don’t know how much he liked the slop last time. I don’t know about running him in the slop again.”
Jacobson said the Grade 3, $200,000 Fall Highweight Handicap on November 24 at Aqueduct Racetrack would likely be Durante’s next assignment. Jacobson previously won the six-furlong main track test with Salutos Amigos  and Stallwalkin’ Dude .
Durante improved his record to 23-7-5-1 while banking $110,000 in earnings to enhance his lifetime bankroll up to $428,911.
The Bold Ruler honors the 1957 Champion 3-Year-Old and Horse of the Year, who went on to become one of the most influential stallions of all time. He sired the great Secretariat, who won the Triple Crown in 1973 – the same year Bold
Ruler was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Other prominent direct paternal descendants of Bold Ruler include A.P. Indy, Foolish Pleasure, Seattle Slew, Spectacular Bid, Ruffian, Bayakoa, Dust Commander, Cannonade, Rags to Riches, Tapit, and Flightline.
Live racing resumes Saturday at Belmont at the Big A with an 11-race card featuring the Grade 2, $250,000 Mother Goose in Race 8, the $135,000 Awad in Race 9, and the Grade 2, $300,000 Forty Niner in Race 10. First post is 12:05 p.m. Eastern.