Art Collector led all the way in Saturday’s $500,000 Woodward S. (G1) at Belmont Park, scoring by 1 1/2-length margin, and the four-year-old colt may now bring his speed to the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar.
“I’m not afraid,” trainer Bill Mott said when asked about the Classic. “I’ll talk to (owner/breeder) Mr. (Bruce) Lunsford. He makes the final decision, but I don’t know what we have to lose. I’d run him a mile and a quarter. A mile and an eighth hasn’t been a problem for him, so why would I cut him back?”
Art Collector has now won three consecutive 1 1/8-mile stakes since being transferred to Mott this summer, taking the Alydar at Saratoga in early August and the Charles Town Classic (G2) three weeks later, and Luis Saez has been up every time.
“It was a wonderful race,” Saez said. “I had a lot of confidence in my horse. He always tries so hard. He always comes with a run and finishes with run and today he ran his race. We expected to be on the lead. He broke so well and he was able to control the pace. That was an exciting race.”
By Bernardini, Art Collector established splits in :24.02, :47.78, and 1:12.12 on a short advantage. The 5-2 second choice accelerated clear into the stretch, leading by a couple of lengths with a furlong remaining, and comfortably held odds-on Maxfield safe while stopping the teletimer in 1:49.22.
Dr Post rallied to be a length back of Maxfield in third, and Code of Honor, Forza Di Oro, and Mo Gotcha completed the order.
Winner of last year’s Blue Grass (G2), Kentucky-bred Art Collector is out of the stakes-winning Distorted Humor mare Distorted Legacy. The five-time stakes victor increased his earnings to $1,535,305 from 15-8-1-0 record.
Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational (G3)
Controlling the action from the start, Lael Stables’ homebred Arrest Me Red edged away to a one-length victory in the $200,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational (G3) one race earlier on the program.
The Pioneerof the Nile colt confirmed himself as a rising presence in the turf sprint decision, improving to 2-for-2 this season for trainer Wesley Ward, and Irad Ortiz Jr. was up on the lone three-year-old in the seven-horse field.
Following an eight-month layoff, Arrest Me Red returned with a narrow win from just off the pace in the 5 1/2-furlong Mahony S. at Saratoga in mid-August. He seized the initiative on Saturday, completing six furlongs in 1:07.86 as the 23-10 favorite, and registered first graded success from three stakes wins.
The bay Kentucky-bred sophomore has bankrolled $261,300 from a 4-for-6 record.
Pulsate wound up second, about a length better than Chewing Gum, and next under the wire came Backtohisroots, Therapist, Guildsman, and Buy Land and See.
Arrest Me Red is the second stakes winner from the Medaglia d’Oro mare Maraschino Red, who counts Grade 1 winners Spun Sugar and Daaher as half-siblings.