Elmont, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist came from off
the pace to win Saturday’s $150,000 Westchester Handicap at Belmont Park.
Tonalist, trained by Christophe Clement for Robert Evans, broke from the
inside post with jockey Joe Bravo in the four-horse field of older horses. The
4-year-old, making his 2015 debut, was sent off as the 9-10 favorite in the
mile test. Palace Malice, the 8-5 morning line favorite, was scratched Friday
with an injury.
Bravo had Tonalist racing fourth, several lengths off pacesetter Juba.
Confrontation was second and Souper Luckly close behind.
Tonalist began to draw closer to the front on the far turn and took the lead
at the top of the stretch. The 4-year-old colt went easily to the lead and
went on to register a 3 3/4-length win over Confrontation. Souper Lucky was
third and Juba fourth.
“The layoff was not a concern; I thought he trained very well, so I was happy
with that,” Clement said. “The mile was a question mark because the horse was
very sharp, obviously, last year. He broke a little asleep. I thought Joe
(Bravo) did a great job putting him in the race. From the half-mile pole you
knew he was traveling very well. It’s fun. That’s what good horses do. They
The time for the Westchester was 1:34.07 on a fast track.
“I think he has the best three-eighths run in the world, and we knew he would
come on the turn,” said Evans.
Tonalist, in his first start in six months, picked up $90,000 and has now
banked $2,042,000 with wins in half of his 10 career starts.
The 4-year-old colt last raced when finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup
Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 1. He won last year’s Belmont Stakes along
with the Peter Pan and Jockey Club Gold Cup. He was second in the Jim Dandy
Stakes and third in the Travers.
Tonalist returned $3.80 and $2.10, and Confrontation paid $2.50 for place.
There was no show wagering.