Courtesy of NYRA publicity team:
Making his first start in almost six months, reigning juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby made an inexorable charge to win the Aljamin overnight stakes for 3-year-olds by a neck on Friday at Belmont Park.
Shanghai Bobby, competing in a sprint for the first time since winning the Grade I Hopeful last year, raced in second as Dads Caps set fractions of 22.58 seconds for a quarter-mile and 45.15 for a half. Dads Caps clung to a tenuous lead in the stretch before Shanghai Bobby’s back class kicked in, allowing him to gain the upper hand in the final sixteenth. Slan Abhaile rallied along the rail to overtake Dads Caps late for second.
Owned by Starlight Racing, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor, and Derrick Smith, Shanghai Bobby had been sidelined since emerging from a fifth-place finish in the Grade I Florida Derby with a pelvic stress fracture. The son of Harlan’s Holiday won his first five career starts, including the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, before suffering his first career loss when he finished second in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes this January.
“It was my first time riding him, but I had watched his previous races, and what he does is get to the lead and wait,” said Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. “I didn’t want to make a premature move and get to the lead too quickly; then, I waited too long and it took him a long time to get going. Finally, when he got to the lead, he started waiting again. His gallop out was really good. He’s a tough horse to read.”
The final time for 6 ½ furlongs was 1:15.79. Shanghai Bobby returned $3.20 for a $2 win wager as the 3-5 favorite.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said he will consider running Shanghai Bobby in the Breeders’ Cup in early November at Santa Anita.
“He ran really well off the layoff,” said Pletcher. “I thought he ran well enough today to put us in the mix for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint or the Dirt Mile, but we’ll see how he bounces out of it.”
Shanghai Bobby improved his record to six wins from eight career starts with $1,857,000 in earnings.
Tenango and Purple Egg completed the order of finish. Whiskey Romeo was scratched.