Celtic Striker drew away from Sonneman in upper stretch en route to a 19 3/4-length victory in the Easy Goer S. at Belmont Park, giving the 3-year-old Congrats colt his first stakes victory.
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After the original field of six scratched down to just two horses, jockey Manny Franco sent Celtic Striker right to the lead at the break. Sonneman was never able to get closer than about a half-length on the backstretch. After a half-mile in :46.55, Celtic Striker began to pull clear and increased his margin all the way to the wire.
"I knew that my horse was a lot faster than the other one, so I took advantage,” Franco said. “I just wanted to keep him on the inside to see what kind of move he made, and I made my move first.”
Owned by Imperial Racing LLC, Celtic Striker is now 3-1-0 in seven starts and has banked $121,600. He was bred in Kentucky by Stoneview Farm and Craig Upham.
The winner's dam Shylock's Daughter is also responsible for a 2-year-old full brother to Celtic Striker, named Jedediah, who has not yet started.
Congrats is once again among the leading sires this year by winners, with 63 to date. Celtic Striker is his eighth stakes horse of 2020.