10/02/2011 5:37PM

Belmont: Vexor connects as longest shot in Nashua

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Barbara D. Livingston
Vexor could be headed to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint after his win in Sunday's Nashua.

 ELMONT, N.Y. - A difficult week for trainer John Kimmel ended on a high note Sunday when Vexor outfought the pacesetting Trinniberg to win the Grade 2, $150,000 Nashua Stakes, likely punching his ticket to the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint next month at Churchill Downs.

 Bouncing back from his eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Hopeful, run over a sloppy track, Vexor stalked Trinniberg through fractions of 22.15 seconds for the quarter and 45.49 for the half-mile. The two hooked up at the eighth pole and Vexor, under David Cohen, edged away inside the sixteenth pole to get the victory by three-quarters of a length. Trinniberg, who lost the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga by the same margin and in the same manner, finished second by four lengths over Seeker. Jagati, Hannibal Lecter, and She Digs Me, the 7-5 favorite, completed the order of finish.

 Vexor, sent off the longest shot in the field at 18-1, returned $38.20.

 Vexor’s win came three days after Kimmel announced that his good-looking debut winner Fire On Ice would be sidelined the remainder of the year with a condylar fracture to his left hind leg. Kimmel said Vexor’s victory takes the sting out of that loss “in some ways.’’

 Vexor had won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race at Saratoga in front-running fashion on Aug. 10 over a fast track before his Hopeful debacle in the slop. Sunday, Belmont’s main track had dried out sufficiently to be labeled good by the Nashua and Vexor handled the footing fine.

 “David said as soon as they went 30, 40 yards he was there for him, felt comfortable and a whole different horse than what we dealt with at the Hopeful,’’ Kimmel said.

 Cohen said he felt confident in Vexor’s chances when he hooked up with Trinniberg at the furlong marker.

 “My horse ,he’s definitely a fighter, he’s got a lot of spunk to him,’’ Cohen said.  “When he put that head in front there was no way he was getting by him.’’

 Kimmel trains Vexor for Gold Mark Farm. The $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint will be run on Nov. 4.

 “I’m kind of excited for Gold Mark, they’ve been supporters of mine and it’s really nice to get a graded stakes win for them and have a chance to run a horse on Breeders’ Cup weekend,’’ Kimmel said. “They’ve been big players in the game and I hope he can do something to make their efforts worthwhile.’’