LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, May 6, 2016) – Gallant Stables’ 8-year-old Majestic Harbor emerged from a three-way scramble at the three-sixteenths pole to become the oldest winner of the $400,000 Alysheba Presented by TwinSpires.com (GII) for 4-year-olds and up.
Trained by Paul McGee and ridden by Corey Lanerie, Majestic Harbor won by 2 ½ lengths over Eagle in covering the mile and a sixteenth on a fast track in 1:43.10 in the 13th running of the race.
Cat Burglar, ridden by Gary Stevens, led the field of eight through fractions of :24.26 and :48.45 while on an uncontested lead. On the far turn, Majestic Affair and Majestic Harbor loomed up on Cat Burglar’s outside and the trio raced as team into the stretch.
Cat Burglar yielded first and at the eighth pole Majestic Harbor spurted clear of Majestic Affair and was not threatened in the run to the wire.
The victory was worth $240,560 and increased Majestic Harbor’s earnings to $1,246,814 with a record of 41-10-8-6. Majestic Harbor is a Kentucky-bred son of Rockport Harbor out of the French Deputy mare Champagne Royale.
Majestic Harbor rewarded his backers with mutuels of $28.80, $10 and $5.40. Eagle, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., returned $4 and $3 with Majestic Affair finishing third a neck back under Javier Castellano and paying $4.40 to show.
It was another length back to Cat Burglar, who was followed in order by Departing, Top Billing, Natchez and favored Noble Bird.
Corey Lanerie (rider of Majestic Harbor, winner) – “The race was super and set up just like I had hoped. I thought I would be in front or sitting just on the outside stalking. Going down the backside, I loved my position. When I raised my stick to see if I had anything, you can feel him sitting me down in the saddle. The horse on the inside gave me engaged me for a little bit and I got little concerned but once I shook him loose he was gone. I was looking for Eagle to come but he didn’t catch me today.”
Paul McGee (trainer of Majestic Harbor, winner) – “He had a good look all the way around there. Corey (Lanerie) worked out the trip that he talked about working out which doesn’t always happen but he just ran a game race and Corey’s done a great job with him. He’s a classy horse, he’s a millionaire and he showed his class today. He’s been a very sound horse all along, he really has.”
Q: Will he run in the (June 18) Stephen Foster (GI)?
“We’ll see. We’re going to savor this one and talk about it.”
Brian Hernandez Jr. (rider of Eagle, runner-up) – “He ran hard. They went a little slow in the middle, and it compromised us. Around the turn, those horses kind of got the jump on him, and he took a little while to get going. Once he finally got going, the race was over.”
Neil Howard (trainer of Eagle, runner-up) – “Majestic Harbor, people sell him short sometimes. He’s a good horse. He (Eagle) ran good. I thought they’d go a little quicker. It might have helped him. To be honest, I don’t think anybody was going to beat Majestic Harbor the way he wound up running,”
Javier Castellano (rider of Majestic Affair, third-place finisher) – “It was a perfect trip. I wish we could have finished second, but we were nailed at the wire.”
Chad Brown (trainer of Majestic Affair, third-place finisher) – “I think he ran great. He showed a lot of heart there, still fighting in the lane. Unfortunately, he got nosed for second, but I ‘m really proud of this horse’s effort. I think he is a better horse going long. We’ll see how he bounces out of this and make plans.”