ELMONT, N.Y. – A well-rested Weekend Hideaway came back from a three-month freshening and rolled to a 2 ¼-length victory over favored Loki’s Vengeance in Friday’s $100,000 Affirmed Success for New York-breds as Belmont Park opened for its 54-day spring/summer meet.
With Luis Saez aboard, Weekend Hideaway sat just off brisk early fractions of 22.32 and 45.14 seconds set by Little Popsie, hitting his best stride when asked as the field of eight turned for home. The 6-year-old son of Speightstown grabbed the lead with just over a furlong to go, and went on to hit the wire in 1:10.30..
“We had a good break and I thought we’d get to the lead but I waited and sat on the rail,” said Saez. “I had plenty of horse and at the quarter-pole was able to get through and up to the wire. He’s a good horse and tries all the time.”
The victory was the first in a stake in more than a year for Weekend Hideaway, who took the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park in January 2015. He notched his second win as a 5-year-old in an allowance in November at Gulfstream Park West, but then stalled and was seventh in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector in December.
“He ran a huge, huge race before [the Mr. Prospector],” said Phil Serpe, who trains Weekend Hideaway for Red and Black Stable. “I guess he went a little backwards off that race. He hadn’t been away from the track in two years, and it was already in our plans to send him away for a while. We sent him to South Carolina to freshen him up, and he came back really well today. He just needed a little vacation.”
Sent off at 5-1, Weekend Hideaway returned $12.40 for a $2 win wager as he extended his career record to 9-4-4 from 30 starts and his earnings to $631,532.
“He’s a nice horse,” said Serpe of Weekend Hideaway, who also counts the Bertram F. Bongard, Gone Fishin, John Morrissey and David stakes among his New York victories. “He always steps up and runs a big race for us during the year. He’s a nice horse to have in the barn.”
Serpe said he would consider the $200,000 Commentator at a mile for Weekend Hideaway’s next start on Big Apple Showcase Day, Monday, May 30.
Loki’s Vengeance, who rallied from fifth, was followed under the wire by Drama King, Ostrolenka, Little Popsie, Between the Lines, Eye Luv Lulu, and Bond Vigilante. Possessed was scratched.
Opening weekend stakes action continues Saturday with the $100,000 Elusive Quality for turf sprinters. First race post time is 1:30 p.m. and gates open at 11:30 a.m.