January 25, 2021

Fore Left leaves no doubt in Tremont triumph

Fore Left wins the 2019 Tremont at Belmont(c) Horsephotos.com/Kathleen O'Leary

Seven years after team I’ll Have Another missed a date with destiny in the Belmont Stakes (G1), the familiar connections of owner J. Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez found the winner’s circle when Fore Left won the Tremont Stakes on the eve of the 2019 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.

I’ll Have Another won the 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) but missed the Belmont and a chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since Seattle Slew in 1977 with swelling in his left foreleg that showed signs of being a tendon injury.

Gutierrez had 18 mounts at Belmont Park before the Tremont, including seven on that aforementioned ill-fated Belmont Stakes weekend, but had yet to win until Fore Left cruised in the Tremont, going gate-to-wire through fractions of :22.58, :45.77 and :57.85 before completing 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.44.

“He broke well and did it pretty easy,” Gutierrez said. “He was sharp out of the gate and found the lead. In the stretch, I just had to be a little firm, but he did it easy. He’s composed; he seems promising; so, hopefully, he keeps going the same way.”

Fore Left won his career debut on May 19 at Santa Anita Park by a neck and earned a 90 Brisnet.com Speed Rating. J. Paul Reddam’s Reddam Racing spent $97,000 on the Twirling Candy colt at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Machmer Hall bred Fore Left in Kentucky, and the owner already has visions of returning Fore Left to his native commonwealth for next year’s Derby.

“It’s always a nice feeling to pick up a stakes win in New York,” Reddam said. “We hope that he can run 1 1/4 miles, but you never know. We had Nyquist, who broke his maiden going five furlongs, and everyone said, ‘That horse can’t go two turns.’ Fore Left has the pedigree to go 1 1/4 miles.”

Reddam said Fore Left would return to California for training, but a summer stakes at Saratoga is on the team’s radar.

It was 4 1/2 lengths back to Theitalianamerican in second and another 3 1/4 lengths to Rookie Salsa in third. Memorabe, the 2-1 second choice, finished fifth, a neck behind fourth-placer Federale.