ELMONT, NY – David Palmer’s Wet Your Whistle struck the front end early and never relented, taking the field gate to wire in Sunday’s $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park.
Wet Your Whistle broke from post 4 under Jose Ortiz at 8/1 odds and bumped lightly with Backtohisroots to his inside after thar rival stumbled out of the gate and lost his rider.
Battle Station and Big Wonder were quickest into stride but soon stalked outside of a quick-footed Wet Your Whistle, who posted opening fractions of :22.47 and :45.15.
Still leading as he straightened for home, the Mike Trombetta trainee raced inside of the loose horse but kept all jockey-occupied horses at bay, drawing off to win the 5 1/2-furlong firm turf sprint by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:07.87.
“The loose horse broke and kind of kept the two speed horses, Big Wonder and Battle Station, way out on the track,” Ortiz said. “My horse broke very sharp out of the gate, so I just played it by ear. I’m just really glad it worked out. He was doing it very nicely the first 1/2-mile, he was just on the beat. Past the 1/4 pole, I asked him to go and had the loose horse right next to me and he just engaged with him. He started running. I think 1:07 and 4 is pretty fast for this kind of track. It’s been a little heavy all day.”
Chewing Gum rallied up for second by a nose over the 5/2 favorite Archidust, who was pinched back at the start.
Fog of War, Holiday Stone, Battle Station, and Big Wonder completed the order of finish. Backtohisroots was safely apprehended after the conclusion of the race.
Chateau (Main Track Only entry) and Pulsate were scratched.
Wet Your Whistle’s win was his second of the year and improved his overall record to 16-7-0-1. The 5-year-old Stroll gelding, a last-to-first winner of the 2019 Highlander Stakes (G1) at Woodbine, has now earned $420,653.
“He had been training well,” Trombetta said. “He jumped on the bridle and had a little bit of a target. Jose took advantage of the situation. A lot of times in these races, you want to try to get the best trip possible. One thing about putting them up there is, you’re either good enough or you aren’t.”
Wet Your Whistle returned $19 to win, $7.50 to place, and $4.60 to show. Chewing Gum brought back $4.50 to place and $2.80 to show, while Archidust paid $2.90 to show.