04/28/2017 6:13PM

Celtic Chaos emerges as Affirmed Success winner

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Celtic Chaos paid $17.20 in winning the Affirmed Success at Belmont on Friday.

With 12 New York-bred sprinters squaring off at six furlongs, the $100,000 Affirmed Success figured to be a dogfight at Belmont Park on Friday.

Turning for home, Weekend Hideaway seemed in charge. In midstretch, Eye Luv Lulu took the lead. But it was Celtic Chaos, who rallied from last position, to ultimately score by a neck. The first five finishers were separated by one length.

When the gates opened, Marriedtothemusic went to the front. He was soon joined on the lead by Rectify and Sudden Surprise through an opening quarter in a quick 22.31. On the far turn, Rectify backed off the pace, while Weekend Hideaway - last year's Affirmed Success winner - moved up readily to challenge three wide from his outside post.

Turning for home after a half in 45.43, Weekend Hideaway took the lead and began to edge away, but Eye Luv Lulu, who had tracked the pace, was set down and moved up to challenge from the outside. At this point, the leaders were beginning to flatten out a bit and jockey Eric Cancel was just getting Celtic Chaos moving. He took him widest of all into the stretch.

Celtic Chaos, 70-1 Final Chapter, and Candid Desire were all closing late but Celtic Chaos finished fastest. Eye Luv Lulu held second by a half-length over Final Chapter, while Weekend Hideaway was fourth, a head farther back and a neck in front of Candid Desire.

"He’s a horse that likes to be comfortable at the beginning and he gives you a really good kick at the end," Cancel said. "He gave me all he had."

Celtic Chaos, who is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, paid $17.20 as the fifth betting choice. He stopped the timer in 1:10.84, with the final furlong of the race going in a lukewarm 12.97 seconds.

"I thought he was too far back, but once he worked his way out, he started running and I knew they were all going to be slowing down," McLaughlin said. "It was a great win."

The Affirmed Success is the first stakes win for Celtic Chaos, a 4-year-old son of Dublin, and for his owners, Zilla Racing Stables, which was founded in 2012. In his previous start, Celtic Chaos had won a statebred second-level optional-claiming going 6 1/2 furlongs at Aqueduct. He is now 5 for 18 in his career with earnings of $320,780.