ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 13, 2016) – Skychai Racing’s Da Big Hoss lived up to his billing as the 4-5 post-time favorite, delivering a popular victory in Saturday’s Grade III $300,000 American St. Leger at Arlington International Racecourse.
The Mike Maker trainee settled more than a dozen lengths off early splits of 50.96, 1:16.26 and 1:42.51 set by O’Prado Ole and parlayed a menacing move under Florent Geroux on the far turn into a 1¾-length score over Clondaw Warrior (IRE) in a final time of 2:49.47 for the 1 11/16-miles trip on the turf. Wasir (GER) was another neck back in third.
The 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid was claimed by his current connections for $50,000 in June 2015 and on Saturday captured his sixth stakes win in ten starts for his new team, earning $174,600 to boost his lifetime bankroll to $1,198,536. The win was his 11th from 20 lifetime starts, and the first of four graded stakes wins on the day for Geroux.
“He just loves to win,” Geroux said. “He always finds a way to find the wire and it doesn’t matter where he is, when you ask him to go, he goes.”
Act D Wagg Syndicate’s Clondaw Warrior was reserved well off the early splits and finished with energy for Seamie Heffernan, but came to life too late to seriously threaten the winner. The 9-year-old Overbury (IRE) gelding was cutting back to his shortest race in more than a year after contesting hurdles in Ireland in his most recent start for trainer William Mullins.
“He ran a lovely race,” Heffernan said. “He was a bit slow from the gate, but the American horses are usually quicker than us, but he’s a very sweet horse and he ran a lovely race.”
Darius Racing’s Wasir showed early interest when tracking the pacesetter through the first mile before taking the advantage into the final of three turns, but could not match strides with the top two in the stretch. The Andreas Wohler trainee easily held the show spot under William Buick.
“I was really pleased with him, he had a very good run,” Buick commented. “Maybe even a career best. We found a horse to pace, the pace was fine. We rode a sensible race up front, and he stayed all the way to the line. It was a very great race, as simple as that.”
Da Big Hoss returned $3.60, $2.60 and $2.10. Clondaw Warrior paid $5.20 and $3.40, with Wasir returning $5.80.
Montclair (IRE), Billabong (MOR), Tobias, Generous Kitten, Hart Hills Road and O’Prado Ole completed the order of finish.
GRADE III AMERICAN ST. LEGER QUOTES
Florent Geroux (jockey, Da Big Hoss, winner): “He just loves to win. He always finds a way to find the wire and it doesn’t matter where he is, when you ask him to go, he goes.”
Mike Maker (trainer, Da Big Hoss, winner): “His pedigree and his looks gave me the impression [he would like marathon races].”
Seamie Heffernan (jockey, Clondaw Warrior, second): “He ran a lovely race. He was a bit slow from the gate, but the American horses are usually quicker than us, but he’s a very sweet horse and he ran a lovely race.”
William T Buick (jockey, Wasir, third): “I was really pleased with him, he had a very good run. Maybe even a career best. We found a horse to pace, the pace was fine. We rode a sensible race up front, and he stayed all the way to the line. It was a very great race, as simple as that.”
Mike Smith (jockey, Montclair, fourth): “We had a really good trip, no excuse at all. Ran very well.”
Flavien Prat (jockey, Billabong, fifth): “I got a good race, he just doesn’t have the turn of foot quick enough. He ran fine, like I said he just didn’t have the turn of foot.”
Arlington International Racecourse