08/13/2016 3:50PM

Da Big Hoss delivers as favorite in American St. Leger

Email
Four-Footed Fotos
Da Big Hoss won his third straight stakes race Saturday in the American St. Leger at Arlington Park.

Da Big Hoss added another chapter to his remarkable post-claim story when surging to victory as an odds-on favorite Saturday in the fifth running of the Grade 3, $300,000 American St. Leger, the first of five straight graded turf stakes on Arlington Million Day at Arlington Park in suburban Chicago.

Kept in a perfect stalking position by Florent Geroux, Da Big Hoss drew abreast of the leaders after straightening out of the third and final turn, then went on to capture the 1 11/16-mile St. Leger by 1 3/4 lengths. He paid $3.60 after finishing in 2:49.47 over a turf course rated “good.”

Clondaw Warrior was up in the last strides for second over another European shipper, Wasir, in a field reduced to nine older horses with the early scratches of Rocket Professor and Messi.

Claimed for $50,000 in June 2015 by the Skychai Racing partnership, Da Big Hoss now has earned more than $1.1 million for the group by winning six stakes from 10 starts under new silks.

“We’re just lucky and grateful,” said Harvey Diamond, a Louisville, Ky., physician who heads Skychai with Jimmy Shircliff. “We were there on the right day at the right time.”

“He just loves to win,” said Geroux. “I got a great trip. There was a good pace ahead of us, and I had good position. There was no funny business around like it happens when you have a big favorite sometimes.”

Da Big Hoss, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred horse by Lemon Drop Kid, earned $174,600 for the win and now has a bankroll of $1,198,536 from 20 overall starts. Among his notable prior wins was the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Turf last summer, and Diamond said a return engagement is on tap for that $600,000 race on Sept. 10 at Kentucky Downs.

The $2 exacta (5-8) paid $20.20, the $1 trifecta (5-8-6) returned $68.10, and the 10-cent superfecta (5-8-6-2) was worth $44.03.