ELMONT, N.Y. – In a postponed renewal of the 1 1/16-mile $200,000 Mohawk for New York-breds 3-years-old and up on the turf, which was washed off its intended surface earlier in the meet, odds-on favorite Somelikeithotbrown made all the running and fended off longshot Sanctuary City’s menacing late rally to capture his second straight edition of the race by posting a half-length score.
Skychai Racing and David Koenig’s Somelikeithotbrown, a 5-year-old son of Big Brown, was making his first appearance against state-bred company since winning last year’s Mohawk in October 2020. The Mike Maker trainee had run exclusively against graded stakes competition in 2021 spanning his first five starts, including a win in the Grade 2 Dinner Party at Pimlico in May and a third-place finish last out in the Grade 1 Keeneland Turf Mile on October 9.
Keen on the class relief despite the quality New York-bred competition, bettors sent off Somelikeithotbrown as the prohibitive 1-2 favorite in the Mohawk. He looked the part, breaking from post and surging to the front under Jorge Vargas, Jr. With Klickitat providing only token pressure off his flank, the bay horse ambled down the backstretch through an opening quarter-mile in 24.23 seconds and a half in 49.15 over firm going on the Widener turf.
Somelikeithotbrown and Vargas kept up the moderate tempo, going three-quarters in 1:13.49, and it wasn’t until leaving the far turn that they received their first serious test in the form of the Christophe Clement-trained City Man, who ranged up on their outside leaving the bend. Shrugging that one off with little opposition, the pair again opened up a daylight lead in mid-stretch. Nut a hard-charging Sanctuary City then picked up the chase. Coming with a burst of energy down the middle of the Widener Turf Course, Sanctuary City looked poised to go by the frontrunner in the final eighth of a mile, but Somelikeithotbrown was unrelenting and dug in late to hit the wire in 1:42.39.
“He was [originally] pointing to the Breeders’ Cup so you had to feel confident,” said Vargas, Jr. of the suspenseful finish. “He was traveling easily throughout. When they got to me I asked a little bit and he jumped on them right away. When it was time to run he fought to the end.
“He’s a nice horse,” the winning jockey added. “Nice horses make multiple moves. They know what they’re capable of, and that’s what he does. He still had something left; I could barely pull him up he was feeling so good.”
Somelikeithotbrown returned $3 on a $2 win wager, while his career earnings now stand just shy of $1.2 million.
Sanctuary City, trained by James Ferraro for the owner/breeder combo of Edward Messina and William Butler, came alive again in the Mohawk, having run shockingly well in this race last year at odds of 41-1, and finished a clear second ahead of City Man, who was 2 ½ lengths back in third. It was another 1 ½ lengths back to Therapist in fourth, who was followed home by Cross Border and Klickitat. Rinaldi was scratched, as was main-track only entrant Tiergan.
The Mohawk Replay
Live racing resumes Sunday with Closing Day of the Belmont fall meet. The 10-race card, which features an 11:50 a.m. first post, will feature a pair of stakes in the $150,000 Zagora for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going 1 1/2 miles on the turf in Race 4 at 1:18 p.m. and the Grade 3, $150,000 Nashua for 2-year-olds in a one-turn mile on the main track in Race 9 at 3:43 p.m.
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.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Somelikeithotbrown (NYRA/Coglianese)