ELMONT, NY – Centennial Farms’ Preservationist repaid his owner’s patience in allowing him to develop when he put forth a monstrous effort to win his graded stakes debut in Saturday’s $700,000 Suburban Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.

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Breaking sharply from post 2 under Junior Alvarado as the 7/2 second choice, Preservationist initially outkicked Realm for the lead before the 6/5 favorite Catholic Boy came racing past his outside while a bit rank. The opening mile’s fractions came in :24.48, :48.09, 1:11.69, and 1:35.68 while Catholic Boy showed the way into the far turn from the two path.

Because Catholic Boy left the rail open, Preservationist was able to slide right through and past him near the 1/4 pole. Set down for the drive home with a growing lead, Preservationist drew off in the stretch for the win. The Jimmy Jerkens trainee crossed the wire 4 1/2 lengths the best in a final time of 1:59.99 for the 1 1/4-mile event over the fast main track.

“My horse broke good, and I let him find his rhythm,” Alvarado said. “He took the lead during the first part of the race and then Catholic Boy came on the outside – a little keen. I wasn’t worried. I was trying to give a nice, confident ride to my horse. At the 5/16 pole, when it was time to pick it up, I asked him, and he was there for me. He gave me a nice run in the end.”

Though unable to keep up with the winner, Catholic Boy held onto second by a 1/2-length over Pavel. Realm came up empty in the far turn and faded to fourth, 1 length ahead of Cordmaker. Behind them came CarlinoMarconiRocketryLone SailorWooderson, and Mead Hall to complete the order of finish.

Preservationist’s win was his third straight and improved his overall record to 8-5-1-2 with $572,300 earned. The 6-year-old son of Arch raced only once each at ages 3 and 4 and just twice as a 5-year-old, but he has already made four starts in 2019 and finally appears to have put his nagging injury issues behind him.

“He was there all the way for him,” Jerkens said. “Junior said he felt good coming down the backside. He was so nice and relaxed coming off of a big race, so I thought he’d be fit enough. He’s got a lot of talent, but he’s got stamina, too. He has a lot of quality all through his female family. Nice to see it all come together to pick up a graded stakes win here today.”

Preservationist returned $9.90 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3.70 to show. Catholic Boy brought back $3 to place and $2.70 to show, while Pavel paid $4.70 to show.