Declan’s Warrior Surges Late to Win Bay Shore
By Jon Forbes | 04/06/2013 07:56 PM ET
Patiently ridden by Jose Lezcano, Declan’s Warrior took advantage of a multi-horse scramble for the early lead and charged down the center of the track to overtake Clearly Now and upset the Grade 3, $250,000 Bay Shore by a head on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Off at odds of 12-1, Declan’s Warrior raced in seventh as Retreive, Salutos Amigos, and Clearly Now battled for the lead through an opening quarter-mile in 22.03 seconds. Lezcano kept Declan’s Warrior near the rail on the far turn, then took his mount outside as the field of nine 3-year-old sprinters turned for home.
Clearly Now, the 3-1 second choice, emerged with a tenuous lead in midstretch, but Declan’s Warrior gradually bridged the gap and shot past the leader with 20 yards to travel.
“I was a little worried because there was so much speed today, but I had to ride my horse the way he wants to run – let him sit and try to catch them at the end,” said Lezcano. “He did it. When I asked him the last part he really kicked good and won the race.”
Declan’s Warrior returned $26.40 for a $2 win wager and completed seven furlongs in 1:22.09.
The Bay Shore was Declan’s Warrior’s first start in New York since his debut, a neck victory in October at Belmont. He made a pair of starts in Gulfstream Park optional claimers over the winter, finishing second in February and dead-heating for the win in March.
Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito said Declan’s Warrior does his best running as a come-from-behind sprinter.
“First time he ran, breaking his maiden at Belmont, that’s how he came,” said Zito. “He came with a run. I told Jose, don’t take him out of his game, because that’s a no-no. We’ve done that since we were kids, you know, you take a horse out of their game, and it never works. In this particular situation, it worked out. The speed got going, and he got going in the end.”
Zito’s wife, Kim, owns Declan’s Warrior. The homebred son of Majestic Warrior has earned $217,770.
The Truth and K G finished third, beaten three lengths. He was 1 ¼ lengths ahead of fourth-place finisher Salutos Amigos, who was followed home by Honorable Dillon, favored Maleeh, Retreive, Clawback, and Silver Morgan.