August 10, 2020

Demarchelier punches Belmont Derby ticket in Pennine Ridge

Demarchelier and jockey Javier Castellano win the Pennine Ridge Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park on June 1, 2019 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/NYRA

Peter M. Brant’s Demarchelier boosted his profile for the $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) with a professional victory in Saturday’s $200,000 Pennine Ridge (G3) at Belmont Park.

Despite bringing a two-for-two record and a glorious pedigree, the Chad Brown pupil was let go at a generous 5-1 in his stakes debut. Bettors preferred the respective third and fourth from the American Turf (G2) on Derby Day, Social Paranoia (2-1 favorite) and Seismic Wave (7-2), and another Brown runner, smashing debut winner Value Proposition (3-1).

The picture changed right out of the gate for Value Proposition. Instead of replicating his off-the-pace tactics, he took the early lead from his rail draw. The fractions were steady – :24.53, :49.27, and 1:12.98 – on the good inner turf, but he was pressured every step of the way by Clint Maroon. Value Proposition succumbed entering the stretch, and Clint Maroon edged away. Yet he too couldn’t last.

Demarchelier, reserved in sixth in the seven-horse field early, was produced at the right time by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano. Angling out and improving position turning for home, the British import shrugged off a bump with Henley’s Joy and rolled past Clint Maroon.

Seismic Wave rallied furiously from last, but Demarchelier wasn’t about to relinquish his grip. Holding Seismic Wave off by a neck, Demarchelier negotiated 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.20 and paid $12.40.

Social Paranoia reported home another length back in third, and Henley Joy’s nipped Clint Maroon to round out the superfecta. With such stakes veterans filling the minors, the Pennine Ridge form has a solid look. There was a 6 1/4-length gap back to Magnificent McCool, trailed by Value Proposition. Swamp Rat was scratched.

A perfect three-for-three, Demarchelier has earned $188,520. The 425,000-guineas ($590,835) Tattersalls October yearling purchase broke his maiden at Aqueduct in November, edging Seismic Wave in a foreshadowing of the Pennine Ridge. Demarchelier cleared his entry-level allowance condition April 12 at Keeneland, again going 1 1/16 miles.

The Pennine Ridge has put him squarely in the July 6 Belmont Derby picture. Brown already had a top contender in unbeaten American Turf winner Digital Age, whose form now ties in neatly with Demarchelier. Stablemate Standard Deviation might be another after a sharp score in his turf debut in Saturday’s Tale of the Cat S. at Monmouth.

Demarchelier’s pedigree points to improvement with maturity and added distance. Bred by Newsells Park Stud in Great Britain, Demarchelier is by Dubawi and out of the unraced Sadler’s Wells mare Loveisallyouneed, a full sister to Group 1 highweight and multiple classic-placed Quarter Moon and Irish classic winner Yesterday. Both placed in the Oaks (G1) at Epsom, as did another full sibling, All My Loving (dam of ill-fated multiple Group 2 scorer Thomas Chippendale). Quarter Moon is herself the dam of Group 1 vixen Diamondsandrubies and ancestress of Group 2 scorer Eminent.

Quotes from Belmont Park

Winning rider Javier Castellano: “I didn’t expect it to be such a slow pace like that. The way I handicapped it, there were a couple of horses that could get a good pace and it would be good fractions. The way my horse did it was very impressive. He finished very well. He’s a young horse and still learning.

“Mr. Brown did a great job managing the horse. You can see his first two races were a mile and a sixteenth. Today, he stretched out to a mile and an eighth, and he handled it so well. With a slow pace, he finished really well. He’s going in the right direction and has a good mind. He’s going to be good in the future.”

Winning trainer Chad Brown: “He ran great. Javier just bided his time back there and the race set up pretty well for him. The fractions weren’t really strong, but he was able to close down the center of the track and get up in time.

“After he broke his maiden we had mapped out a plan to get to the Belmont Derby and fortunately it looks like the plan is coming together. He’s a really top-quality colt. Obviously well-bred and well-ridden each time. It’s exciting to have a horse headed to that big race.”

Jockey Joel Rosario on runner-up Seismic Wave: “It was a fine trip. He broke well and I just found myself at the back. He came with a nice run. I thought for a second we were going to catch Javier, but that horse just kept on going. It was a good run.”