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ELMONT, NY – LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable’s Casa Creed, with Joe Bravo up, came alive in the final 1/8 of a mile, rallying outside of favored Front Run the Fed and prevailing by a head in Saturday’s $100,000 Elusive Quality, a 7-furlong sprint for older horses on Belmont Park’s Widener turf course.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who conditioned the race’s namesake, the 5-year-old Jimmy Creed bay was exiting a close sixth, defeated 1 1/4 lengths to Hit the Road, in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) on March 6 at Santa Anita Park.
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Proven Strategies, with Manny Franco up, broke alertly and established the early pace under pressure from 59/1 longshot Tell Your Daddy on the outside and Value Proposition along the rail through an opening 1/4-mile in 24.05 seconds on the firm course.
Casa Creed saved ground in sixth position into the turn as Proven Strategies marked the 1/2-mile in 48.02 under close watch by Tell Your Daddy with Value Proposition, piloted by Irad Ortiz Jr., in tight along the rail in third.
Front Run the Fed, racing comfortably in fourth under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, rallied into contention outside of Tell Your Daddy late in the turn and into striking position. Proven Strategies maintained a precarious lead out of the turn as Bravo guided Casa Creed to the center of the track and began to reel in his rivals one by one.
While Casa Creed worked his way to the lead, Value Proposition, full of run, was edged off the rail and surged through a narrow opening between Proven Strategies and Tell Your Daddy but cleared too late to menace the victorious Casa Creed, who stopped the clock in 1:22.65.
Front Run the Fed held second by a nose over Value Proposition, with a game Tell Your Daddy a neck back in fourth.
Rounding out the order of finish were Olympic Runner, Therapist, Proven Strategies, and Seismic Wave.
Although winless in 5 starts (including 3 Grade 1 turf mile events) last year, Casa Creed secured Grade 1 black type with a third-place finish to Halladay in the Fourstardave on August 22 at Saratoga.
“He ran against the best grass milers in the world last year and he never disgraced himself,” said co-owner Lee Einsidler of LRE Racing. “We thought today would be a good test going seven [furlongs] as opposed to going a mile. Now, we know we can run him going six or seven or a mile, so that gives us some options. He loves to be a racehorse. When Bill Mott is in your corner, you feel pretty good about your chances.”
Casa Creed secured his first win since capturing the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) in August 2019 at Saratoga, where he bested graded stakes-winners Sombeyay and Global Access.
Bravo, who picked up the mount from the injured Junior Alvarado, said he felt like a winner throughout.
“The horse just sat behind horses, and the last eighth of a mile was beautiful,” said Bravo. “I know he wasn’t in front at the eighth-pole, but he was a winner the whole way. Bill knows how to bring them over right. There’s nothing better than riding a good turf course, and Belmont has one of the best.”
Castellano said he had no excuses for Front Run the Fed, a four-time winner sent to post as the 6/5 mutuel favorite in his seasonal debut from a close sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) in November at Keeneland.
“He looked fine, it was his first race off the layoff and the Breeders’ Cup,” said Castellano. “He did everything his own way. He was right there. It was just a tough beat. The winner got it in the final moment. But I have no complaints. I think off this race, he’ll go forward.”
Bred in Kentucky by Silver Springs Stud, Casa Creed banked $55,000 in victory while improving his record to 19-4-3-3. He returned $7.80 for a $2 win ticket.
Winner returned to win, to place, and to show. Place brought back to place and to show. Show paid to show.
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