09/08/2012 3:30PM

Belmont Park: Sean Avery comes back sharp following long layoff

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Sean Avery kicks home under Joe Bravo to win the Affiliate Stakes.

Sean Avery, away from the races for 13 months because of a bowed tendon, made a successful return Saturday, rallying from off the pace to win the $76,000 Affiliate Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths.

It was Sean Avery’s first start since he won the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga in front-running fashion on Aug. 7, 2011.

Though he broke alertly Saturday, Sean Avery was taken back to last by Joe Bravo in the four-horse field while Crossbow and Royal Currier dueled through a half-mile in 45.39 seconds. Bravo brought Sean Avery four wide turning for home and he accelerated past 7-5 favorite Royal Currier inside the sixteenth pole to gain his seventh victory from 11 starts.

Over a track labeled fast, but one yielding slow times, Sean Avery, a 6-year-old gelding by Cherokee Run owned by Black Swan Stable, covered the six furlongs in 1:11.46 and returned $5.40 as the second choice.

“Joe and I talked a little bit about [strategy] in the paddock, Joe said I know I can make the lead but I don’t want [him] first time back to get hooked and get in some sort of speed duel,” winning trainer Allen Iwinski said. “After they broke . . . he grabbed him and took him back. The one thing he was a little concerned about was being fresh like he was, is he going to relax without fighting him the first part of it, and he said he did. He said he was so happy, he just relaxed beautifully.”

Iwinski said that he would point Sean Avery to the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational here on Sept. 29 with an eye toward the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

“We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but let’s just say that would be painting a beautiful picture if we could get there,” Iwinski said.