ELMONT, NY – Live Oak Plantation’s homebred Win Win Win gave his connections reason to shoot off an extra firecracker or two when he rallied strongly down the stretch to take Thursday’s $100,000 Manila Stakes at Belmont Park.
Breaking a step slow from post 7 under Julian Pimentel at 4/1 odds in his turf debut, Win Win Win was soon riding at the rear early. Up front, longshot Ian Glass outhustled Pole Setter for the lead before posting quick fractions of :22.77 and :45.29. In his first start since finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby and seventh in the Preakness Stakes, Win Win Win was nonetheless in his familiar
As the field rounded the far turn, Pole Setter and the 3/1 favorite Fog of War were at the pacesetter’s throat latch, with the bettors’ choice soon clinching top position at the top of the stretch. Behind them, Pimentel had tipped Win Win Win out to commence a rally down the middle of the track. By mid-stretch, Win Win Win was alongside a charging Casa Creed as they both cut into Fog of War’s lead.
Inside the last 1/16 of a mile, Win Win Win had poked his nose in front and continued to inch away. The Mike Trombetta trainee crossed with a 1/2-length advantage in a final time of 1:31.56 for the mile-long event over the firm turf course.
“I mentioned to Mike that his work over the turf was very good. I was impressed with the way he moved over it that day and he showed it here again today and handled it pretty good,” said Pimentel. “He’s really matured. He used to be playful, but now he’s gotten more focused on running. Today, he went easy. I had a ton of horse heading for home. I was just waiting to make my move. I had so many horses in front of me, but I was just biding my time. When we got in the clear, he took off.”
Fog of War held onto second over Casa Creed by a head while running along the inside rail in the stretch. Much farther back came Clint Maroon in fourth, with Pole Setter, Pulsate, and a spent Ian Glass. Gentleman Joe, at 50/1 the longest shot on the board, was distanced in the stretch run and was eased across the wire to complete the order of finish.
Current was listed as a veterinarian scratch.
Win Win Win’s victory was his first since his track record-setting performance in the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on January 19. The 3-year-old Florida-bred son of Hat Trick improved his career record to 9-4-2-1 with $422,300 earned.
“This was an experiment. I really didn’t know how it was going to end,” said Trombetta. “I did work him on it. He works decent on the synthetic and he worked OK on the turf at Laurel. It looked like he got over the ground well. We didn’t put any pressure on him, but he handled it well and we were happy with him.”
The Turf Trinity launches Saturday as part of the Stars & Stripes Racing Festival led by the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby and while the second leg of the series – the $1 million Saratoga Derby slated for August 4 – looms a potential target, Trombetta said he wasn’t ready to commit Win Win Win to turf yet.
“We wanted to see what it was all about and get him started, but we’ll take him one race at a time,” said Trombetta.
Win Win Win returned $10.20 to win, $5.70 to place, and $4.10 to show. Fog of War brought back $4.30 to place and $3.40 to show, while Casa Creed paid $3.60 to show.