Eloquist turns back challenge from Barese to win $150K Discovery
by Ryan Martin
Cash is King and LC Racing’s Eloquist displayed grit and determination when turning back three-time New York-bred stakes-winner Barese to notch his third consecutive score and first at stakes level in Sunday’s 78th running of the $150,000 Discovery at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Eloquist, by Nyquist, entered the nine-furlong main track test for sophomores off consecutive wins at optional-claiming level going one mile and 70 yards. After two previous unsuccessful attempts at stakes level, Eloquist made the third time the charm going gate-to-wire and getting his nose down over a game Barese.
Eloquist broke from post 6 under Paco Lopez and established command heading into the first turn with Barese to his inside in second through an opening quarter-mile in 24.07 over the muddy and sealed main track.
Manny Franco, aboard Barese, tipped his charge to the outside of Eloquist with Saint Tapit keeping close company in third. Eloquist and Barese remained a close one-two through a half-mile in 48.49 with Saint Tapit dropping out of contention nearing the far turn.
Eloquist and Barese completed three-quarters in 1:13.51, and Franco began to coax Barese for more run while Lopez was still waiting to give Eloquist his cue around the far turn. By the quarter-pole, both horses were under an all-out drive with very little between them, distancing themselves from the rest of the field. The pacesetters reached the finish line in tandem with the nose victory going to Eloquist, who completed the journey in 1:53.33.
The top pair finished five lengths ahead of third-place finisher Naval Aviator. Completing the order of finish were Winit, Affable Monarch, Saint Tapit and Be Better.
Trainer Butch Reid, Jr. said he was “definitely nervous” regarding the photo finish.
“It looked like we were beat, but he got the nod right and we were due to get lucky maybe,” Reid, Jr. said.
Eloquist rewarded his backers with a $33.80 return for a $2 win wager as the longest shot in the field, and banked $82,500, boosting his lifetime earnings up to $243,010. His record now stands at 12-5-0-0.
Reid, Jr. gelded Eloquist over the summer, which he said has made all the difference.
“He’s another advertisement for castration,” Reid, Jr. said. “We gelded him a little while ago and since then he’s been a different racehorse and really turned it around. I can’t say enough about Paco, who has done a sensational job with this horse.”
Lopez piloted Eloquist in his previous two victories, winning on the lead in September at Parx before rallying to victory over a muddy and sealed track in October at Delaware.
“I knew the longer distance would be better for this horse. A mile is a little too short for him,” Lopez commented. “Last time, at Delaware, he came from behind. Today, I felt the horse was very happy on the track. He broke good and got on top. I used him a little bit to get to the lead and it worked out good today.”
Eloquist has made two previous efforts at stakes level, including a distant fifth in the Grade 2 Remsen last year at the Big A and a distant ninth in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in February at Gulfstream Park.
“We thought [he was a stakes horse] earlier, but it was a little disappointing that he took so long,” Reid, Jr. said. “We thought enough of him down at Gulfstream Park and we were thinking big thoughts with him. He’s a better and much gamer horse now.”
Reid, Jr. said Eloquist could get a freshening following Sunday’s win.
“We took our shot here because it was the last chance against 3-year-olds, so he might get a little bit of a break. He’s had a long, hard summer,” Reid, Jr. said.
Bred in Kentucky by Idlewood Farm and Indian Creek, Eloquist is out of the unraced Tapit mare Our Gal El and was bought for $70,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale.
The Discovery honors Alfred G. Vanderbilt’s Hall of Famer, whose career highlights include capturing three consecutive runnings of both the Whitney Handicap and Brooklyn Handicap in 1934-36. He was named retrospective Horse of the Year in 1935 and was Champion Older Horse in both 1935-36. He retired with a record of 63-27-10-10.
Live racing resumes Thursday at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.
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