Speightstown's newest stakes winner National Flag closed with a rush in the stretch to capture Aqueduct's Bay Shore S. (G3) by four lengths.
National Flag's chances didn't look good after he was squeezed back soon after the start, putting him some six lengths off the lead in the first sixteenth of a mile. As the field hit the top of the stretch, National Flag was still several lengths from the front and well off the fence. Once he straightened for home, the chestnut colt began to gain on the leaders and really found his best stride in the final furlong, blowing past Aveenu Malcainu to win going away in 1:23.16 for the seven furlongs.
"I was concerned after the rough start," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "He had never really been in that position. He got hit pretty hard from both sides and I was afraid at that point. He produced and put in a big run down the lane. He's always been a beautiful horse and a fantastic looking yearling, you can tell by his price tag."
Pletcher was referring to National Flag's $600,000 auction price at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling sale. Owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing LLC, National Flag upped his record to three wins from five starts and has now earned $237,450. Bred by Siena Farms, National Flag is out of Date to Remember, who is a half-sister to Pimlico Special (G1) winner Eddington.
Pedigree notes from the TDN
National Flag is the 40th graded winner and 89th black-type winner for Speightstown. His dam Date to Remember, a half-sister to millionarie Eddington and a maiden of five career starts, brought $200,000 from Siena Farm in foal to Street Sense at the 2013 KEEJAN Sale. In addition to Saturday's Bay Shore winner, she has also produced the graded-placed Bernina Star.