Economic Model opened his 5-year-old campaign in good order, repelling the bid of 9-5 favorite Irish War Cry and powering away to a 1 ¾-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Hal’s Hope (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Irad Ortiz Jr. was up for Chad Brown.
Campaigned by Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, Economic Model was exiting an allowance/optional claiming win at Belmont Park in mid-October. The son of Flatter recorded his first graded stakes win and left the starting gate as the 5-1 fifth choice among seven rivals.
He stalked the pace down the backstretch of the one-turn mile race, settling a couple of lengths back in third as 3-1 second choice Malagacy showed the way on a short lead through opening splits of :24.54 and :46.91. Economic Model advanced to overhaul the pacesetter nearing the completion of the far turn and accelerated into a narrow lead while straightening for home, but a challenge loomed on the outside from Irish War Cry.
Winner of the Wood Memorial (G2) and second in the Belmont Stakes (G1), Irish War Cry returned from a five-month hiatus for Graham Motion and was caught in tight quarters along the inside entering the far turn. The Triple Crown veteran came charging outside to challenge Economic Model in upper stretch but his rival had more in reserve.
Economic Model kept finding more all the way the wire, cruising to an easy tally in the final sixteenth of a mile, and stopped the teletimer in 1:36.50. The bay horse is on the upswing after a disappointing 4-year-old season.
“He never let the other horse pass him,” Ortiz said. “He’s the kind of horse that when he makes the lead, if you hit him left he will get out and if you hit him right he will get in. I didn’t want to have any contact with the other horse, so I switched my stick and hit him right-handed. I just took a hold of him and kept him straight.”
After winning his stakes debut, the Easy Goer on the 2016 Belmont Stakes undercard, Economic Model placed in the King’s Bishop (G1), Dwyer (G3) and Bold Ruler (G3) before concluding his 3-year-old term with an eighth in the Cigar Mile (G1). He launched 2017 with a third in an allowance/optional claiming event and followed with a pair of unplaced efforts before beginning to turn things around with the aforementioned tally at Belmont last fall.
“It’s good for him. He’s back,” Ortiz said. “He’s won the last couple times and hopefully he stays the right way.”
Economic Model has now earned $614,625 from a 14-5-3-2 career ledger.
Irish War Cry held second by a length in his first appearance since an unplaced showing in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) last September. Tower of Texas rallied for third at 29-1, 4 ¼ lengths better than 7-2 Conquest Big E in fourth. It was another 6 ¾ lengths to Giuseppe the Great and Malagacy came next after weakening in the stretch. Send It In fell on the far turn and had to be euthanized. Jockey John Velazquez escaped uninjured.
Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm, Economic Model was purchased for $150,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale. He’s out of the Quiet American mare Queen of America and counts Grade 2 winner Well Monied and multiple stakes victor Jimmy Simms as half-siblings.