Serve the King wore down long-time leader Channel Cat in the final yards to claim the $200,000 Red Smith S. (G2) at Aqueduct on Saturday for owner Peter Brant, trainer Chad Brown, and jockey Jose Ortiz.
The 2-1 favorite in the 1 3/8-mile test run over the firm inner turf, Serve the King saved ground in midpack for much of the journey. Tipped out by Ortiz approaching the quarter pole, Serve the King made a wide bid entering the stretch and ultimately edged past Channel Cat, who had set comfortable splits of :24.96, :50.02, 1:15.59, and 1:40.84.
“He had every right to not get there today given the way the race unfolded and he showed a lot of determination to get up in time,” Brown said.
Serve the King won by a neck, covered the 11 furlongs in 2:16.60, and paid $6.10. Channel Cat held second by a neck over Soldier Rising, who trailed most of the way before making a belated rally. The order of finish was rounded out by No Word, Shamrocket, Corelli, Sanctuary City, Value Engineering, Price Talk, and Tide of the Sea.
This was the second stakes win, and the first at graded level, for the five-year-old Serve the King. Victorious in the restricted John’s Call S. at Saratoga on Aug. 25, he was most recently second to stablemate Rockemperor in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont Park. His record now stands at 11-5-2-1, $406,180.
By Kingman and out of the Group 2-placed Fallin Love, by Galileo, Serve the King is a half-brother to Group 3 winner Loving Things. He was bred in Great Britain by Normandie Stud.