ELMONT, NY – Trainer Doug O’Neill’s Liam’s Pride fought tooth and nail to get up in the final jump to steal Friday’s $80,000 Gold Fever Stakes at Belmont Park.
Ignored as he broke from post 7 under Dylan Davis at 13/1 odds, Liam’s Pride remained out in the clear while tracking leader Wondrwherecraigis from mid-pack. Ranging up to run three-wide at the 1/4 pole, Liam’s Pride fought along the outside of the 1/5 favorite Long Weekend, who was sandwiched between Liam’s Pride and the pacesetter.
Wondrwherecraigis drifted up and made contact with Long Weekend multiple times in the stretch, which may have been enough to keep the bettors’ choice from giving his best effort.
Liam’s Pride took advantage of his rivals playing bumper cars, getting up in the last steps to win the 6-furlong sloppy main track sprint by a head in a final time of 1:10.70.
“He broke well and I loved what I saw in front of me, a little duel,” Davis said. “He kind of ranged up a little earlier than I thought, but it was okay with this track, so I decided to let him do that. At the 1/4 pole, I pulled him off and let him focus on what was in front of him.”
Though Wondrwherecraigis crossed a 1/2-length ahead of Long Weekend, a stewards’ inquiry deemed that he had interfered with Long Weekend that he was disqualified and placed third.
Hopeful Treasure, Newstome, and Listentoyourheart completed the order of finish. Premier Star was scratched.
Liam’s Pride’s victory was his first since breaking his maiden at Oaklawn Park on March 7 and improved his overall record to 8-2-0-2. The 3-year-old Liam’s Map colt has now earned $118,740 for co-owners Tom Mansor, Richard Pushor, Robert Roy, D. Chadwick Calvert, and Jerry Caroom.
Liam’s Pride returned $28 to win, $6.20 to place, and $3 to show. Long Weekend brought back $2.20 to place and $2.10 to show, while Wondrwherecraigis paid $3 to show.