06/05/2017 4:13PM

Breakin the Fever rallies late in George W. Barker

SV Photography
Breakin the Fever takes a half-length victory in the George W. Barker Stakes on Monday.

Breakin the Fever won the George W. Barker Stakes at Finger Lakes Race Course for the second year in a row Monday and paid $3.50.

While the result was expected, the way he accomplished it was not.

Breakin the Fever is fast, and has made a living by running rivals off their feet. But on Monday he didn't show his normal speed from post 1, and ended up racing in fourth position along the inside early in the six-furlong race for New York-breds.

Jockey Nazario Alvarez took Breakin the Fever out four wide nearing the stretch, but the two-time Finger Lakes Horse of the Year was still about four lengths back with a furlong remaining. Breakin the Fever began to make up ground in midstretch and then flew by the leaders late to score a thrilling half-length victory.

Marriedtothemusic and Love that Jazz raced head and head on the lead while being tracked by Fratello Del Nord through fractions of 22.00 and 45.45. Fratello Del Nord moved up to challenge three wide on the far turn, and when Love That Jazz threw in the towel entering the stretch, it looked like the Barker would come down to Marriedtothemusic or Fratello Del Nord.

But after five furlongs in 58.16, the top pair began to weaken and Breakin the Fever closed relentlessly to get up through a slow final eighth in 13.54.

Breakin the Fever, who scored his most important victory last October in the Hudson Handicap at Belmont Park, is now 17 for 27 and 14 for 16 at Finger Lakes. He has been the wine country track's Horse of the Year the past two seasons.

Breaking the Fever, 5, is owned and trained by his breeders, Ronnie and Debra Breed. He has earned $500,441.

Marriedtothemusic finished second in the Barker for the second straight year. It was a half-length back to Fratello Del Nord in third. Sundae On Sunday, an 8-year-old who was racing in the Barker for the fifth straight year, closed from far back to be fourth, 2 1/4 lengths behind Frattelo Del Nord.