Poseidon's Warrior found the sloppy going to his liking Sunday at Saratoga as the 4-year-old Speightstown colt claimed a hard-fought neck victory in the $400,000 Alfred Vanderbilt H. (G1).
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The dark bay colt is the first Grade 1 winner of 2012 for Speightstown and his 13th black-type earner on the year, second-best among all North American sires. His progeny have earned in excess of $5.4 million this year, also good for third on the general sire list.
With the speedy Shackleford getting the bulk of the public's attention, Poseidon's Warrior was dismissed at 36-1 in the six-furlong Vanderbilt. While Shackleford didn't take to the off track, Poseidon's Warrior was never more than a couple lengths off the top spot. Three wide around the turn, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. slowly inched closer to the front as the field straightened for home. Poseidon's Warrior dug deep in the final furlong, passing Emcee and holding off a late charge of Justin Phillip to stop the timer in 1:09.40, an excellent time on the off track.
“When I turned for home, I asked my horse, and he had something,” Ortiz said. “I tried to do my best in the stretch, and he just kept going.”
“This was a race we’ve been looking at for a long time,” said trainer Robert Reid Jr., who won the first Grade 1 or his career. “I told the jockey to ride him out of the gate if he wanted because sometimes in New York they’ll give you the lead, but when he saw the others go out he did the right thing and laid back off them and let him settle.”
The $240,000 winner’s share of the purse pushed Poseidon’s Warrior’s lifetime earnings to $634,337 for his owner Swilcan Stable LLC. He now has seven wins in 17 starts, including five stakes wins.
Poseidon's Warrior was bred in Maryland by Dark Hollow Farm and William Beatson. Out of the Smarten mare Poised to Pounce, Poseidon's Warrior is a half-brother to multiple stakes winners Play Bingo and Quick 'n Smart.