Lubash Last to First to Win West Point Presented by Trustco Bank
By Ashley Herriman | 08/16/2012 05:40 PM ET
Lubash scored his first victory since 2010 on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Race Course, sweeping from last to first to beat six other New York-breds in the $150,000 West Point presented by Trustco Bank.
Taken back by jockey Jose Lezcano at the start, Lubash raced in seventh as Johannesburg Smile, pressed by Street Game, led through a quarter-mile in 24.40 seconds and a half in 48.57. Four wide turning for home, the 5-year-old son of Freud rallied swiftly to take the lead and edge clear, prevailing by 1 ¾ lengths at the wire.
Lubash’s final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.61 over turf rated firm and he returned $9.50 for a $2 win bet as the 7-2 second choice.
“As soon as I picked it up from the break, he settled down pretty good,” Lezcano said. “After that, I waited a little bit to make my move. I had plenty of horse in the last five-sixteenths. I decided to make my move. He gave me an unbelievable kick today. When I asked him, he really accelerated. He has improved a lot.”
It was the first victory for Lubash since winning the Monarch’s Maze overnight stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack on November 21, 2010. Trained by James Ryerson for most of his career, Lubash was transferred to the barn of Christophe Clement earlier this year. Second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the Kingston against fellow New York-breds in May, his first start for Clement, Lubash finished fourth in the Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth Park last time out.
“I’m a very lucky man,” Clement said. “[Owner Leonard Pivnick of Aliyu Ben J Stable, Inc.] sent me a very nice horse in the spring, and he keeps getting better. Jose took him back, we got some rain before the race, and they obviously went a little too quick early on. He won well. He’s getting better through the year; he’s a very nice horse.”
Lubash has now earned $386,629 with a career record of 6-3-2 from 21 starts. Clement said he was likely to run the horse in the $175,000 Mohawk Stakes on New York Showcase Day, Saturday, October 20.
Less than two lengths separated the second- through fifth-place finishers, with Minnie Punt heading favored Compliance Officer for second, longshot Majestic Raffy three-quarters of a length back in fourth, a neck ahead of Street Game. Abilio and Johannesburg Smile completed the order of finish, while Writingonthewall and Socialsaul were scratched.