ELMONT, N.Y. – Fish Trappe Road and jockey Luis Saez took advantage of their outside post position in the 99th running of the Grade 3, $500,000 Dwyer, swinging wide turning for home and posting a 1 ¼-length victory over favored Economic Model in the one-mile race for 3-year-olds on Stars & Stripes Saturday at Belmont Park.
A New York-bred son of Trappe Shot, Fish Trappe Road was content to run in fourth, perched just outside Economic Model, as Laoban and the Great Whiteway dueled through an opening quarter-mile in 23.35 seconds, with the half going in 46.67. Given his head as the field of eight turned for home, Fish Trappe Road took over at the top of the stretch and had enough left to stave off the late inside run from Economic Model.
His winning time for the mile was 1:34.84.
“Very nice trip,” said Saez. “He broke good. He usually breaks very quick and fights you the whole time. But today, he was so relaxed. He was perfect and he finished strong.”
It was the first graded stakes victory for the Martin Racing Stable color-bearer, who was caught late last time out by 25-1 shot Tom’s Ready in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens on Belmont Stakes Day. Prior to that, Fish Trappe Road won an optional claimer in May at Churchill Downs, having opened his 2016 campaign with a seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 LeComte at the Fair Grounds.
“When the post positions came out, I felt really, really good,” said winning trainer Bret Calhoun. “It gave us a lot of options out there. He didn’t have to be pushed. Luis rode him perfectly. I’ve been playing this race out in my head for a couple of days since it was drawn, and it played out exactly the way I thought it would. He’s matured a lot. He was a big kid at 2, played 24-7 – now, it’s all just coming together mentally and physically.”
Sent off as the 7-2 second choice, Fish Trappe Road returned $8.70 for a $2 win bet and earned $275,000, more than doubling his bankroll to $518,185. Overall he is 3-3-0 from nine starts.
Economic Model nosed out Tale of S’avall for second, with Voluntario checking in fourth.
“My horse ran well,” said Chad Brown, trainer of the beaten favorite. “Irad [Ortiz] said he wasn’t comfortable inside there, I wish he could have got him out. Luis Saez [rider of winner Fish Trappe Road], rode a smart race and stayed in the clear. His horse ran really well. It’s a good field. We were hemmed in the whole way. We’ll regroup after this. We’ll wait and see how he comes out of this.”
Calhoun indicated Fish Trappe Road would remain in New York and run at Saratoga Race Course, but was not certain whether he would stretch out to 1 1/8 miles in the Grade 2, $500,000 Jim Dandy on July 30 or target the Grade 1, $500,000 King’s Bishop on August 27.
Completing the order of finish were Laoban in fifth, followed by Unbridled Outlaw, Swipe and The Great Whiteway.