ELMONT, N.Y. – Dynamic One capitalized on a patient approach from the outset that left enough in reserve to fend off a game First Captain in the final jumps for a victory by a nose in Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Suburban for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/4 miles on the Belmont Park main track.
The 136th running of the Suburban, the first of four graded stakes on Saturday’s Stars and Stripes Racing Festival card, saw Repole Stable, Phipps Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Dynamic One build on a last-out victory in the Blame on June 4 at Churchill Downs to win consecutive races for the first time in his career.
Out of the gate, 4-5 favorite Dynamic One was content to sit last-of-five as stablemate Untreated led the quintet through the opening quarter-mile in 24.90 seconds, the half in 49.39 and three-quarters in 1:13.75 over the fast track.
Approaching the final turn, jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. urged Dynamic One up from the outside, heading into the stretch on equal terms with First Captain to his inside and Untreated by the rail.
Ortiz, Jr. used right-handed encouragement and his charge responded, gaining the slight edge over Dynamic One in the final sixteenth and holding on, hitting the wire in 2:01.26.
The victory continued an impressive Belmont run for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, who captured last month’s Belmont Stakes and started the spring/summer meet’s closing weekend by saddling a winner for the fifth time in the last six stakes contested at Belmont, adding to last weekend’s stakes sweep of the Manila [Annapolis]; Perfect Sting [Jouster]; Grade 2 John A. Nerud [Life is Good]; and Grade 3 Dwyer [Charge It].
“I was just concerned – I didn’t think we got the best head bob and I thought he had a head in front right before the wire and First Captain got a good head bob, but thankfully we were able to get there,” Pletcher said.
Dynamic One returned $3.80 on a $2 win wager and increased his career earnings to $699,950. The 4-year-old Union Rags colt, who ran second in last year’s Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino before running 18th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, has finished on the board in all four his starts this year. After running third in the Grade 3 Challenger in March at Tampa Bay and second in the Grade 3 Ben Ali in April at Keeneland, he is now a back-to-back winner for the first time in improving his career ledger to 4-3-1 in 12 starts.
“He has progressed and caught kind of a tough race first time back at Tampa and then we were at a starting point and felt like he would improve after that,” Pletcher said. “He made a move forward at Keeneland and then put together probably his most professional race last time in the Blame. It seems like he just keeps getting a little better and he’s starting to figure things out. He’s a horse that we’ve always had high hopes for.”
Ortiz, Jr. earned his second Suburban win and first since Diversify in 2018.
“He’s getting better,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “His mind is much better. He’s starting to figure out the game and he’s changed a lot. He’s having a great mind right now, switched up [leads] when I wanted to and he let me do my thing. Then he turned it on when I wanted to. His mind is getting better and better every time.
“When he made the lead, he waited a little bit and then he fought back,” he added. “We always liked him, but he could do some things that were a little green out there. I think the last three times [he ran], he’s started to figure it out.”
The Luis Saez-piloted First Captain, previously unbeaten at Belmont for Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, followed his win in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special in May by besting Untreated by three-quarters of a length for second.
“He tried and he ran his race,” Saez said. “He was battling, but the other one just got the jump. My horse tried pretty hard.”
Untreated, who was third in the Pimlico Special for Pletcher, finished 7 3/4 lengths ahead of three-time graded stakes-winner Max Player. Forewarned completed the order of finish.
“We were a little unsure that Untreated likes to be on the lead, but we decided after talking to Barry [Irwin, owner of Team Valor International] that from the one-hole going a mile and a quarter with the start on the turn there that we might as well go ahead and secure our position,” Pletcher said. “I thought we got a comfortable pace and the horse ran good. We were a little concerned with Dynamic One; how the pace scenario was going to set up for him. He’s a horse that want’s to settle and make one late run. In this case, you couldn’t let him [Untreated] get too far away.”
The Suburban’s top-four finishers will have their nomination, entry and starting fees waived if they start in the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 3 at Saratoga Race Course. The 10-furlong Jockey Club Gold Cup offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Keeneland. Should a Grade/Group 1-winner in 2022 start in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the purse will increase to $1.25 million. Pletcher indicated Dynamic One would target the Jockey Club Gold Cup next.
Sunday will mark Closing Day for the Belmont Spring/Summer meet, with a nine-race card featuring the $100,000 Saginaw for New York-bred 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles in Race 8. First post is 12:30 p.m.
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.
By Brian Bohl/NYRA Press Office
Photo: Belmont Park Logo