08/04/2016 3:15PM

Bob LeBeau comes from far back to score in A.P. Smithwick

Barbara D. Livingston
The 9-year-old Bob Le Beau, ridden by Jack Doyle, wins the Grade 1 A.P. Smithwick for jumpers by a length.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Elizabeth Voss admitted to being a bit nervous when she saw her horse, Bob Le Beau, 15 lengths back midway through the running of Thursday’s Grade 1 A.P. Smithwick at Saratoga.

But with the final three furlongs of all steeplechase races run without a hurdle, Bob Le Beau, under Jack Doyle, made up all the ground and outfinished a troubled Scorpiancer to win the $125,000 Smithwick by a length. It was 5 1/4 lengths back to Portrade - also trained by Voss - in third.

“Jack came back and I said ‘you scared … me that you were that far back,’ " Voss said. “I know he’s got a huge kick but with that weight I was just a little worried with that many lengths to make up.”

Bob Le Beau was the 158-pound highweight in the Smithwick. He was spotting two to 16 pounds to the field. He gave 10 pounds to Scorpiancer, who was forced to steady behind Balance the Budget in upper stretch.

Meanwhile, Doyle guided Bob Le Beau to the inside for the stretch drive and he had clear sailing.

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Bob Le Beau, a 9-year-old gelding by Big Bad Bob, covered the 2 1/16 miles in 3:51.20 and returned $3.80 as the 4-5 favorite.

Bob Le Beau was making his first start over hurdles this year. His only previous race was a win in a flat-race allowance at Parx on July 10.

“He’s a horse that takes a bit of time to find his rhythm and his stride,” Doyle said. “He hasn’t run over hurdles for over eight or nine months. As long as he relaxes and settles, the end of the race is not a problem. He’s got so much speed when he gets going you can point him and put him anywhere you want.”

Bob Le Beau will now be pointed to the Grade 1 New York Turf Writers’ Cup on Aug. 25. He won that race last year by 7 1/4 lengths.