WinStar Farm’s homebred American Patriot, the heavy race-time favorite, got the job done in style Saturday evening, winning the Grade 3 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park in track-record setting fashion. The sophomore son of War Front covered nine furlongs in 1:47.19 over the firm turf for trainer Todd Pletcher, crossing the wire 1 1/2 lengths in front of the field with Jose Ortiz shipping in from New York to ride.
He’ll Pay broke the quickest of the eight-horse field of 3-year-olds, striding out to a one-length lead while under a bit of a hold from Florent Geroux. Keystoneforvictory and American Patriot tucked in behind him in second, with Mighty Mo ranging up on the outside to make a three-wide bid for the stalking position. American Patriot waiting patiently while between horses, tracking He’ll Pay through fractions of :24 3/5, :48 1/5 and 1:12 flat before he had room to make his move. Mighty Mo dropped back mid-way through the far turn, allowing American Patriot to angle out just nearing the head of the lane.
He’ll Pay still held his lead at the top of the stretch, but American Patriot was gaining with every stride. Crossing the chute from where they’d begun the race, American Patriot was powering away despite having never changed leads, earning a strong 1 1/2-length victory for his connections. He’ll Pay held second, with Inspector Lynley charging down the center of the track late to gain third. Converge closed from last to be fourth.
Bred in Kentucky, American Patriot is out of a daughter of Tiznow. He was entered in the Keeneland September Yearling sale, but RNA’s for $ 850,000. WinStar elected to keep the regally-bred colt and race him, a faith which American Patriot has rewarded with three career victories from six starts. The Kent is his first graded stakes win, and brings his total earnings to over $ 210,000.
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