04/06/2013 5:09PM

Aqueduct: Declan’s Warrior’s late run takes Bay Shore

Barbara D. Livingston
Declan's Warrior (5), with Jose Lezcano riding, gets up for the victory in the Bay Shore.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - When Jose Lezcano came to the paddock before Saturday’s Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct, he expressed some concern to trainer Nick Zito that the track may not be kind to Declan’s Warrior’s late-running style.

Undeterred, Zito told Lezcano to ride him the way he had ridden him previously - sit back and make a run.

Sticking to the game plan worked out sweetly for Zito and Lezcano as Declan’s Warrior, who had just two horses beat at the three-sixteenths pole, rallied stoutly down the center of Aqueduct’s main track and caught Clearly Now to win the Grade 3, $250,000 Bay Shore by a head.

Clearly Now, who emerged from a four-horse speed duel in midstretch to seize control of the race, finished second by three lengths over The Truth and K G.

Salutos Amigos finished fourth and was followed in the order of finish by Honorable Dillon, Maleeh, the 5-2 favorite, Retreive, Clawback and Silver Morgan.

The win was the third in four starts for Declan’s Warrior, a son of Majestic Warrior owned and bred by Zito’s wife, Kim.

“My wife, Kim, is the principal owner. It’s a special day for us,” Zito said. “She loves her horses.”

Lezcano had Declan’s Warrior in seventh position and saving ground while Retreive, Salutos Amigos, and Clearly Now battled through a quarter in 22.03 seconds, a half-mile and a half-mile in 44.70.

The Truth and K G came four wide and there were four horses across the track turning for home.

Lezcano tipped Declan’s Warrior five wide in upper stretch, and though Clearly Now had put away the other speed and opened up, he couldn’t hold off Declan’s Warrior.

“I had to ride my horse the way he wants to run - let him sit and try to catch them at the end,” Lezcano said. “When I asked him the last part, he really kicked good and won the race.”

Declan’s Warrior covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.09 and returned $26.40 to win.

“Jose was worried about the track. I said ‘Jose don’t take him out of his game. That’s a no-no,’” Zito said. “You take a horse out of their game, it never works. In this particular situation it worked out. The speed got going and he got going in the end.”

Javier Castellano, the rider of Swale Stakes winner Clearly Now, said his horse never changed leads in the stretch, “and I just got beat at the wire.”