Evaluator went from the back of the field early on to be first on the wire by a nose in the $250,000 Sleepy Hollow S. Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park.
After making three starts on the turf, the 2-year-old Overanalyze colt was making his first start on the main track. He is the fourth stakes winner for his sire, who tops the 2017 Freshman Sire list with nearly $1.3 million in progeny earnings and 22 winners.
As is his custom, Evaluator was in no rush out of the gate and was near the back of the 11-horse field after the first quarter mile. He didn't find his best stride until there were three furlongs to run, when Manny Franco sent the Michael Dilger trainee five-wide into the stretch.
In full flight in the lane, Evaluator set his sights on Big Gemmy, catching him in the final strides to snatch his first stakes win in his fourth lifetime start.
"(Michael) told me to break out of there and let him be comfortable, because he doesn't have speed early on," Franco said. "I put my head down and tried to follow a target and get a space to go and it worked out well."
Evaluator picked up $150,000 for the win, upping his earnings to $195,634 for R and H Stable. He was bred in New York by EKQ Stables Corp.