French Invader Bayrir Takes Secretariat
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Aug. 18, 2012) -- Bayrir found American soil and 1 ¼ miles to his liking, as the His Highness the Aga Khan’s French-bred Medicean colt shipped over and swept by a good group of 3-year-old turf males to win the Grade I $500,000 Secretariat Stakes on Saturday at Arlington Park.
The domestic crowd dispatched Bayrir as the third choice behind graded stakes winners Silver Max and Summer Front, but Bayrir left no doubt about his superiority as jockey Christophe Lemaire had no problem blowing by the field in the final quarter mile. Time for the 1 ¼ miles on good turf was 2:02.92.
“I think he’s a very good horse because he’s very calm,” trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre said. “We had a good pace in the race, and he has a good turn of foot.”
Silver Max set the pace as expected and was mostly unchallenged through splits of 24.65 seconds, 48.94 second and 1:13.25 before Irish invader Daddy Long Legs pressed him entering the far turn. Silver Max held sway with him as Summer Front made a three-wide move turning for home, but that trio was no match for Bayrir.
“It wasn’t the plan [to be far back early], but the race started out very quickly,” Lemaire said. “I let my horse get into the race, and on the backstretch he was racing very well, and he took the bit on his own around the last corner. When I put him out he reacted very well.”
Silver Max faded to fifth while his stablemate from the barn of Dale Romans, Finnegans Wake, got up for second over a tiring Summer Front.
“I don’t know where Daddy Long Legs was going, but I don’t understand how he was trying to win the race with that move,” Romans said. “Finnegans Wake ran huge. He’s just going to get better, especially the further they go.”
The losses snapped a six-race winning streak for Silver Max and an undefeated on the turf five-race streak for Summer Front.
“We’ll live to fight another day,” Summer Front’s trainer, Chrisophe Clement, said.
Bayrir, who paid $8.40, $4.80 and $3.60, improved his record to four wins from five starts with earnings of $441,008. Finnegans Wake paid $6.40 and $3.60. Summer Front returned $3.40.
Handsome Mike, Silver Max, Cozzetti, All Stormy and Daddy Long Legs completed the order of finish.