DEL MAR, CA – LNJ Foxwoods’ United took command near the top of the stretch and drew off to prove much the best in Sunday’s $200,000 Eddie Read Stakes (G3) at Del Mar.
Breaking from post 6 under Flavien Prat as the 7/5 favorite, United sat close to the lead, stalking two-wide in second while Neptune’s Storm set the pace.
United applied light pressure to the leader through opening fractions of :23.88, :47.84, and 1:11.68 before making his move midway through the far turn.
Challenging for command at the top of the stretch, United kicked clear shortly after straightening for home and was too tough to tackle.
The Richard Mandella trainee crossed the wire a 1/2-length clear in a final time of 1:46.71 for the 1 1/8-mile firm turf route.
“The race came up perfect,” Prat said. “He broke real well and we got a great spot. We went along fine, and when I asked him, he just went on with it. When you ride a really good horse like this, it makes things easier. Good horses do good things; they put you in good spots. It’s all easier with his kind.”
Sharp Samurai trailed early and made a bold late bid along the rail to take second by a 1/2-length over Neptune’s Storm, while behind him came Bowies Hero, Originaire, and Cleopatra’s Strike to complete the order of finish.
Combatant was scratched after his connections opted to run in Saturday’s San Diego Handicap (G2), where he finished last of five to run.
United’s win was his third from as many starts this year, having won the San Marcos Stakes (G2) in February and the Charles Whittingham Stakes (G2) in May. The 5-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding improved his overall record to 14-6-3-1 with $1,253,549 earned and ran so well that he may make his career debut on dirt next time out.
“We ran him short just to pick his head up,” Mandella said after United ran his shortest distance in over a year. “Sometimes, you run them long too many times, they get stale, but this horse is training so well on the dirt, month after month, I’m going to consider running him in the Pacific Classic ([G1], a 1 1/4-mile dirt route on August 22). I’ve been thinking all summer about it. We’ll think about the Del Mar Handicap (G2) on turf, too, but if he keeps training on dirt as well as he has been…”
United returned $4.80 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.60 to show. Sharp Samurai brought back $6 to place and $3.80 to show, while Neptune’s Storm paid $3.40 to show.