ELMONT, NY – Godolphin’s homebred Final Frontier took over command in mid-stretch and held sway under a confident hand ride late to win Saturday’s $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational Stakes.
Breaking from post 3 under Jose Lezcano at 3/1 odds, Final Frontier soon settled into a close stalking position in third while the 8/5 favorite Shekky Shebaz winged out of the gate and found the lead. With Fully Vested tracking him from the outside, Shekky Shebaz posted opening fractions of :22.46 and :44.29.
Racing three-wide through the far turn, Final Frontier turned for home within a length of the pacesetting bettors’ choice. Running up alongside Shekky Shebaz in mid-stretch, Final Frontier was able to surpass him late under only mild urging.
Hand-ridden inside the final 1/16, Final Frontier hit the wire 3/4 of a length ahead in a final time of 1:07.39 for the 6-furlong sprint over the good outer turf course.
Shekky Shebaz stayed on for second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of the winner’s Tom Albertrani stablemate Fully Vested. The rest of the field remained spread out behind, coming across in order as Gidu, two-time defending champion Disco Partner, They Shot Sonny, and Hawkish.
Final Frontier’s win was his second of the year, having taken a 5 1/2-furlong allowance/optional claiming turf sprint at Saratoga in early August. The 4-year-old son of Ghostzapper now sports a record of 10-4-2-1 with $240,010 earned.
Final Frontier returned $8.20 to win, $4 to place, and $2.90 to show. Shekky Shebaz brought back $3.30 to place and $2.70 to show, while Fully Vested paid $4.70 to show.