MMG Stable’s El Areeb was impressive over Aqueduct’s muddy (sealed) inner track on Monday, dominating the G3 Jerome Stakes by at 11 1/4 lengths on the wire. The sophomore son of Exchange Rate earned 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby for his victory, covering the 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:46.17 under Trevor McCarthy for trainer Cathal Lynch.
Breaking out of the gate on top, El Areeb’s outside post position allowed the favored Takaful to take over the lead heading into the first turn. McCarthy and El Areeb pressured Takaful through a solid first quarter of :23.28, maintaining their position three-quarters of a length off of the leader. Rounding into the backstretch, Takaful eased up a bit, setting a second quarter split of 24.83 seconds to mark the half in :48.11. The move allowed El Areeb within a half-length of the lead.
Through the far turn, El Areeb appeared to require a strong ride to reach his best stride, as McCarthy scrubbed his hands along the colt’s mane for several long strides without reaction. Suddenly, El Areeb sprang forward, eclipsing Takaful in the space of three strides and easily taking the lead. At the head of the stretch, the colt had at least a six-length lead, and McCarthy kept riding strong until the final sixteenth of a mile, when he allowed El Areeb to coast under the wire 11 1/4 lengths in front of the field. Bonus Points came from last to be second, while True Timber finished third. Win With Pride was fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Dixiana Farms, El Areeb was a $ 100,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Eisaman Equine. Pinhooked through the OBS March 2-year-old in training sale, the colt brought $ 340,000 from current owner MMG Stable. The Jerome is El Areeb’s first graded win, though he did take a listed stake last out at Laurel Park. Overall, he boasts a record of three wins from five starts with earnings of over $ 180,000.
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