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ELMONT, NY – OXO Equine’s Instilled Regard got the best of a field that dealt with an erratic rival, taking over at the top of the stretch and holding on strongly to win Saturday’s $150,000 Fort Marcy Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.
Breaking from post 5 as the 2/1 favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Instilled Regard sat off the pace and watched as Somelikeithotbrown posted opening fractions of :22.89, :46.96, and 1:11.30. Tribhuvan‘s rein snapped shortly after exiting the barriers and he ran uncontrolled just behind the leader, though he swerved out wide through the clubhouse turn and onto the backstretch before an outrider forced him back down.
Still leading as he entered the far turn, Somelikeithotbrown came under pressure as the field began to gang up on him. Instilled Regard ranged up four-wide through the turn and swept to the lead as he straightened for home.
Though fellow Chad Brown trainee Devamani came rallying late, Instilled Regard was too far ahead to catch before hitting the wire. The winner was a neck ahead of his stablemate by a neck as he completed the 1 1/8-mile good inner turf route in 1:47.07.
“I was in a perfect spot on the backside just waiting, and then I saw a horse on the outside move,” said Ortiz, Jr. “I moved a little early, but I had no choice because I didn’t want to be behind horses, so I moved him out and he just took off and started moving really good. When I asked him turning for home, he responded really well.”
Devamani took second by 1 length over Somelikeithotbrown, who fought gamely to hold third by a head over Synchrony. The third Brown entry, Flop Shot, had traffic trouble and could only muster fifth ahead of Social Paranoia, while Temple was the last runner to cross the finish line.
Jockey Jose Ortiz (the winning rider’s brother) kept Tribhuvan away from the field as best he could, controlling his steed with one hand while using his other to calm him with neck rubs until the outriders could assist bringing him under control in the stretch. Tribhuvan, the fourth Brown runner in the field, walked off under his own power, but the same could not be said for Gucci Factor, who was pulled up in the stretch and vanned off.
Instilled Regard’s win was his first of 2020 and third at the graded stakes level following the 2018 Lecomte (G3) and the 2019 Ft. Lauderdale (G2). The 5-year-old Arch son – purchased for $1.05 million as an unraced juvenile – now sports a record of 17-4-3-4 with $763,240 earned.
“He got a beautiful trip,” Brown said. “Irad rode him with a lot of confidence. He had been training well. I was a little concerned today; he likes the ground firm and there was a lot of moisture. I’m very proud of this horse that he actually handled some moisture in the ground on the Belmont course. It was a relief to see that. I know he’s better on firm turf, but he showed a lot of guts today. The turf is not that soft, but there definitely is some give in it.”
Instilled Regard returned $6.40 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.20 to show. Devamani brought back $9.10 to place and $6.10 to show, while Somelikeithotbrown paid $6.40 to show.
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