06/07/2013 5:34PM

Belmont Park: Albertrani runs 1-2 in Jaipur Stakes despite DQ

Barbara D. Livingston
Souper Speedy (left) and Big Screen battle to the wire in the Grade 3 Jaipur. Big Screen finished first but was disqualified.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Tom Albertrani was praying for rain this weekend at Belmont Park – not only for Freedom Child in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes but to force Friday’s $150,000 Jaipur Stakes from the turf to the main track, a switch in venue that would give him two big opportunities to win the Grade 3 fixture with Big Screen and Souper Speedy.

Sure enough, the rains came, the Jaipur was ultimately decided over a sloppy main track, and Albertrani wound up with the top two finishers in a scratched-reduced field of five. Big Screen appeared to be the winner after outlasting his uncoupled stablemate Souper Speedy by a head. But Big Screen was ultimately disqualified and placed second behind Souper Speedy after drifting and impeding that rival through the late stages of the seven-furlong Jaipur.

Big Screen, who also would have contested the Jaipur if the race stayed on the grass, broke in stride and quickly opened a clear advantage on his four rivals while setting a rapid early pace over the wet surface. Souper Speedy, entered for “main track only” by Albertrani, was well placed from the outset, began gaining gradually outside the leader once settling into the stretch, but fell just short with his bid while being forced out and eventually bumped by the tiring Big Screen near the wire.

Following an inquiry, the stewards reversed the original order of finish, awarding the victory and the $90,000 first-place prize to Souper Speedy.

Politicallycorrect, who ducked out at the break to impede Reload, improved position into the stretch, lugged in leaving the furlong grounds, and offered only a mild closing response. Reload was roughed at the start between horses, rushed briefly to contention, but was done after five furlongs while finishing a well-beaten fourth. Next Question tired badly, finishing fifth and last.

Souper Speedy, a 4-year-old homebred son of Indian Charlie owned by Live Oak Plantation, was making his first stakes start since finishing second in the Grade 2 Remsen more than 17 months earlier. He completed the distance in 1:22.09 under jockey Jose Lezcano and paid $5.10 as the tepid favorite.

“I knew both horses were going to be very tough if the race came off the grass, it was just a matter of which one was going to be better than the other today, and in the final strides I was actually rooting for a dead heat,” Albertrani said. “I didn’t see the head on replay, and, to be honest, I was surprised when I saw the change in the order of finish. Unfortunately, for an owner, you hate to see that happen. But both horses ran huge.”