09/29/2012 5:10PM

Belmont Park: The Lumber Guy sharp in Vosburgh following layoff

Barbara D. Livingston
The Lumber Guy may opt for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile over the BC Sprint.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Chalk players were more lucky than good in Saturday’s Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational at Belmont Park as The Lumber Guy ($6.20) returned from a layoff to win decisively, while more highly-regarded entrymate Sean Avery finished off the board.

Off a half-step slow beneath John Velazquez, The Lumber Guy quickly recovered and moved up widest down the backstretch to stalk duelers Poseidon’s Warrior and Little Drama through fractions of 22.57 and 45.06 seconds. He drew alongside the leaders in mid-stretch, moved well clear coming to the sixteenth pole, and held off late-charging Caixa Electronica to score by a length and one-quarter.

A 3-year-old facing his elders for the first time, The Lumber Guy was making his first start since forcing a fast pace and finishing off the board in the Peter Pan on May 12. The Barry K. Schwartz homebred ran six furlongs in 1:09.22 seconds on a harrowed main track rated good, and improved to 4 for 4 in one-turn races for trainer Mike Hushion, including the Jerome earlier this year.

“It was pretty simple,” said Velazquez. “Mike told me, ‘He’s quick, make sure you get him out of there running, and if he’s taking you, leave him alone.’ He thought he was going to finish for me, and he did.”

The Lumber Guy became the second straight New York-bred to win the Vosburgh, joining ill-fated Giant Ryan.

“This is always a good time of year for 3-year-olds,” said Hushion. “I’ve been telling Barry for the past five weeks that he’s been working like the real deal. We know he’s got a good mile in him from the Jerome.”

  The Lumber Guy earned a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, but is not a definite for that race. “It’s just a question of which one, the Sprint or the Mile – I’m kind of inclined to think he’s a miler,” said Schwartz. “We really felt going in that we were going to win today. I just joked, ‘The only bad thing is we’re not going to get 10 or 12-1 on him.”

Caixa Eletronica lagged well behind early, came widest into the stretch and put in a run reminiscent of his wild rally to win the True North, finishing clearly second best by a length and three-quarters over Poseidon’s Warrior, who held third by a half-length over Little Drama.

The Allen Iwinski-trained Sean Avery carried the colors of Black Swan Stable, whose owners include Schwartz. Making his second start back from a year-long absence, he raced within striking range just behind the leaders into the stretch, but could make no headway and settled for fifth.

Justin Phillip, Fort Loudon, Zero Rate Policy, and Rothko completed the order of finish.

Royal Currier became fractious in the gate and was scratched, so pick four and pick six bettors were switched to the favored winning entry.