ELMONT, N.Y. – Eric Fein’s Original picked up his first stakes win in Sunday’s $100,000 Manila, holding off a furious late rally from Public Sector in the one-mile Widener turf test for sophomores at Belmont Park.
The graded stakes-placed Quality Road colt turned the tables on his rival Sunday after fading to third last out when Public Sector prevailed in a one-mile optional-claiming event contested over yielding turf on June 4 at Belmont.
With Luis Saez up once more in the seventh renewal of the Manila, Original broke alertly from post 4 and made all the running, holding off even-money favorite Public Sector’s late run to secure a narrow head score.
“I saw him [Public Sector] coming,” said Original trainer John Terranova. “But Luis rode him beautiful and had a little clearance coming to the top of the stretch and was able to hold on.”
Original set splits of 24.85 seconds, 50.30 and 1:14.44 over a turf course rated good with It’s a Gamble stalking from second position outside of Hot Blooded and a hard held Straw Into Gold riding the hedge in fourth.
Public Sector, who settled in fifth after the break under Flavien Prat, tipped outside of Hot Blooded and the fading It’s a Gamble late in the turn as Straw Into Gold launched his bid up the rail. But there was no reeling in Original, who stayed on stubbornly to secure the win in a final time of 1:37.75.
Public Sector completed the exacta by 1 1/2-lengths over Straw Into Gold. Rounding out the order of finish were It’s a Gamble, the slow-starting Annex and Hot Blooded.
Like the King, who ran second in Saturday’s Grade 3 Kent at Delaware Park; and Ridin With Biden, who will race in Monday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Dwyer at one-mile on Big Sandy, were scratched.
A maiden winner at second asking over yielding Aqueduct Racetrack turf in November, Original ran third in the Grade 3 Kitten’s Joy in January at Gulfstream Park and followed with a third in the Woodhaven in April at the Big A.
The victory marked the second stakes win of the meet for Terranova, who said he felt confident throughout.
“I knew we were going easy. The fractions were slow but the turf is very soft, so I didn’t expect too fast fractions,” said Terranova. “They let him out there easy. The only thing we talked to Luis about was if they came to us at the quarter-pole, to kick away a little, because they’re going to be kicking down the stretch. We wanted to get a little clear from there, which he did, and it worked out beautiful.”
Saez said his charge was touting himself on the way to the gate.
“Today, I knew I had horse. When I took him away from the pony I could feel it. He was ready. He was on his game today,” said Saez. “He was the speed of the race and he did his thing. He broke pretty well and set the pace. When we came into the top of the stretch, I had a lot of horse, and he came and gave me a fight in the last few jumps. It was an exciting race.”
Bred in Kentucky by Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, Original banked $55,000 in victory while improving his record to 7-2-0-3. He returned $15.80 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes Monday at Belmont with a nine-race card highlighted by the $150,000 Grand Couturier in Race 6 and the Grade 3, $250,000 Dwyer in Race 8. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
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By Keith McCalmont
Photo: Original (NYRA/Coglianese)