07/09/2016 6:01PM

Deauville has smooth effort in Belmont Derby triumph

John Bambury
Deauville wins the Belmont Derby on Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. _ Deauville may have been viewed as the lesser of the two horses trainer Aidan O’Brien shipped from Ireland for Saturday’s Grade 1 Belmont Derby, but when the race was over Deauville was second to none, holding off Highland Sky to win the $1.25 million race by a neck.

Meanwhile, Long Island Sound, the other O’Brien horse who was sent off the 5-2 favorite, finished sixth in a race where the top 10 finishers were separated by just three lengths.

Deauville, a son of Galileo, overcame the outside post in the 13-horse field as Jamie Spencer got him into second position, stalking the pace-setting Toughest ‘Ombre before taking the lead in upper stretch. Spencer said he felt extremely confident once he was able to get Deauville into good position entering the first turn.

“That made the race a lot more comfortable to ride, that I was able to get one off the fence without using him too much early,” Spencer said. “Once we got to the first turn, I knew I was on the horse with the best ability, it was just a case if I got stuck five wide and racing keen.”

Deauville was far from keen, sitting off Toughest ‘Ombre through a quarter of 24.41 seconds, a half of 50.20, six furlongs in 1:14.20 and a mile in 1:37.19. When Spencer got after Deauville turning for home he responded while holding off the oncoming Highland Sky.

“Once I got to the six-furlong marker I knew my race was going so smoothly I was going to  be involved,” Spencer said. “It was just a case if one came and nabbed me from behind.”

Deauville, a son of Galileo owned by Mrs. Fitriani Hay, Derrick smith, Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor, covered the 1 1/4 miles over firm turf in 2:00.51 and returned $14.60.

Deauville was coming off an 11th-place finish in the Group 1 Epsom Derby at 1 1/2 miles, a race run over soft ground. Two starts back, he was beaten just a neck in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York.

“The Dante in York is probably one of the best Derby trials going,” said T. J. Comerford, assistant to O’Brien. “A mile and a quarter is probably his ideal trip. He’s top-class over a mile and a quarter.”

It was another frustrating loss for Highland Sky, who for the second straight race fell a neck short after having to rally wide and from well off the pace under Luis Saez.

“He’s the best horse in every race we run him in and we can’t win them,” trainer Barlcay Tagg said. “He’s not Silky Sullivan.”

Trainer Chad Brown finished third, fourth and last with his trio of Beach Patrol, Camelot Kitten, and Call Provision. Beach Patrol, under Javier Castellano, broke slowly and was wide, but came with a sustained bid. Camelot Kitten had no excuse while Call Provision was trying to get out, according to what jockey John Velazquez told Brown.
“Beach Patrol, we planned to have him forwardly placed, he just didn’t break; no fault of Javier’s,” Brown said. “He made a nice move throughout the race to range up there and it looked like he was going to fade, and he comes on for third. He put in a tremendous effort.”

Following Camelot Kitten in fourth was, in order, Surgical Strike, Long Island Sound, Applicator, Ralis, Humphrey Bogart, Airoforce, Toughest ‘Ombre and Call Provision.