by NYRA Press Office
Surprising Soul, at odds of 17-1, led from flag fall to finish line to capture the 11th running of Thursday's Grade 1, $150,000 Lonesome Glory, a 2 1/2-mile jumps event at Belmont Park.
Trained by Richard Hendriks for his mother Wendy Hendriks, and piloted by Ross Geraghty, the 7-year-old Perfect Soul gelding established an early lead in the 10-jump stamina test with 48-1 longshot All the Way Jose and 6-1 Scorpiancer tracking his early foot.
The front-running trio maintained a steady tempo throughout with 4-5 mutuel favorite Winston C and 3-1 second choice Moscato content to race from the back of the nine-horse field.
Surprising Soul and All the Way Jose cleared the final fence in good order and had plenty in the tank, surging clear of their rivals into the final turn. Surprising Soul opened up down the lane to secure the 3 3/4-length win, while Hinterland, at odds of 43-1, found his best stride late to complete the exacta 3 1/4-lengths the better of a game All the Way Jose. Surprising Soul stopped the clock in 4:34.31.
Geraghty said he was hoping for a prominent trip with Surprising Soul.
"It was in the plan," said Geraghty. "I usually get the lead on him. He's a very, very willing horse. He gives you everything that's there. He tries so hard. Once I had him at his speed and he was cruising on, he was happy.
"He puts so much out in every race and we didn't realize it at the start," added Geraghty. "He won his first three starts one spring  and we ran him that summer at Saratoga and got nothing, he was a totally different horse. He puts so much into every race and leaves nothing for the next day. He might have one more start this year. You have to be careful with him and just mind him. He gives everything."
Surprising Soul arrived at the Lonesome Glory from a strong second in the Grade 1 Calvin Houghland Iroquois Hurdle on May 11 at Percy Warner. The Ontario-bred son of Perfect Soul previously made the grade with a victory in the Grade 3 2018 National Hunt Cup Hurdle Handicap at Malvern.
Hendriks said he was pleased with trip engineered by Geraghty.
"We wanted to sit behind All the Way Jose. He likes to sit behind a horse from a half-mile to a mile and go on, but Ross is perfect on the lead," said Hendriks. "I couldn't believe my eyes. Such a great win."
Surprising Soul banked $90,000 in victory, while improving his record to 6-4-1 over the jumps. He paid $37.20 for a $2 win ticket.
Rounding out the order of finish were Winston C, Scorpiancer, Redicean, Belisarius and Moscato. Bedrock was eased to the finish.
Live racing continues on Friday at Belmont with an eight-race card, highlighted by the $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard. First post is 3 p.m.