'Bigtime' Upset In Grade III Stars and Stripes
Trainer Chris Block could have entered Team Block's Ioya Bigtime in either the Grade III Arlington Handicap or the Grade III Stars and Stripes Stakes but opted at entry time for the latter race, a decision which proved to be fortunate as the son of Dynaformer stole the $150,000 race at odds of 41-1 over favored Musketier.
With Jeffrey Sanchez in the irons, the Illinois-bred 5-year-old covered the mile and a half over "good" turf in 2:28.44 after overtaking pacesetting Workin for Hops at the half-mile pole.
"Both of (my) horses trained well up to the race," said Block, who also saddled third-place finisher Suntracer. "I knew Suntracer could get the mile and a half but I didn't know about Ioya Bigtime. I have to give (jockey) Jeffrey Sanchez a lot of credit. He can be a tough horse to ride but Jeffrey seems to have his number. He got him to relax nicely."
"I let him be," Sanchez added. "He relaxed into the bit. Everything was perfect today."
Ioya Bigtime won for the first time in six starts in 2012 and for the fifth time in 15 starts overall. He picked up $85,500 for the Stars and Stripes tally to elevate his career earnings to $245,625.
Musketier, far back early, mounted a furious stretch rally but could not catch the winner who prevailed by a length and a half.
"He ran good," said Joel Rosario of his trip aboard the beaten favorite. "I wanted to be a little bit closer, but I didn't want to force him too much out of his game. My horse came running at the end but I think the winner was probably the best horse in the race today."
Joinem, Eagle Poise, Harrods Creek, Mystic, defending champion Free Fighter, Final Count and Workin for Hops completed the order of finish.
Ioya Bigtime rewarded his backers with prices of $84, $25.60 and $12.40. Musketier paid $4 and $2.80 while Suntracer returned $6.