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ELMONT, NY – The 10-month layoff was no issue for Tribhuvan, who shook off the rust with a 1 ½-length victory going wire-to-wire in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Fort Marcy, a nine-furlong inner turf test for older horses at Belmont Park.
Owned by Wonder Stables, Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb and Michael Caruso, Tribhuvan was one of three Fort Marcy aspirants trained by Chad Brown, who also sent out Rockemperor and Devamani.
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Tribhuvan made his first start since posting a narrow allowance optional claiming score over graded stakes winner Ballagh Rocks on July 4 at Belmont over the Widener turf course. The victory was a fourth lifetime win, and first at graded stakes level for the French-bred son of Toronado, who won twice in his native land for former conditioner Henri-Alex Pantall. He competed in last year’s edition of the Fort Marcy, but was pulled up in mid-stretch after a buckle on his reins broke when hitting the gate at the start.
Tribhuvan broke sharply from post 3 under Eric Cancel, and commanded the field into the first turn with a six-length advantage through an opening quarter-mile in 23.56 seconds and the half-mile in 47.89 over the firm turf.
Down the backstretch, the field began gaining on the frontrunner, with New York-bred stakes-winner City Man poised to pounce in second along the hedge with Wissahickon to his outside.
Cancel was relaxed aboard his charge until upper stretch when he gave Tribhuvan his cue. City Man made a bid but was unable to catch the leader who completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.11. City Man finished another two lengths clear of third-place finisher Rockemperor.
Completing the order of finish were Devamani, winner of last year’s Grade 2 Knickerbocker, and Wissahickon.
“They said they wanted me to go, and I did what I was told to do,” said Cancel, whose first graded stakes triumph came aboard Smooth Daddy in the 2017 Fort Marcy. “The trip worked out very well. I settled on the pace and got my horse to relax. He made a really nice run from the quarter-pole to the wire.”
Brown won his fourth consecutive Fort Marcy – and fifth overall – adding to a list which includes Big Blue Kitten , Robert Bruce , Olympico  and Instilled Regard .
Tribhuvan, along with Brown’s other two runners, were saddled by his assistant Dan Stupp.
“I expected all three to run well as they all had trained well,” Stupp said. “The winner got a little lost in the wagering but he’s a horse last year that we had high hopes for. He had a little trouble in this race last year when the buckle on the rein broke coming out of the gate, so it was nice to see him come back and start the year off the right way.
“There was no pace on paper and he’s a horse that’s very sharp in his training,” Stupp added. “He has a lot of energy and he was the logical horse to let him have his head a little bit and go to the front and back it down a bit. Eric did a great job executing that plan.”
Tribhuvan, who returned $22.40 as the longest shot in the field, improved his record to 17-4-2-3 and nearly doubled his lifetime earnings to $221,154.
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