05/27/2007 11:00PM

Ecclesiastic takes Jaipur at 24-1


Ecclesiastic proved yet again that it's never wise to underestimate Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens, as the 6-year-old horse rallied three wide turning for home and exploded through the stretch to a 2 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $113,800 Jaipur Stakes at Belmont Park.

It was the second Jaipur victory for Ecclesiastic, who also won this race in 2005 when it was run at seven furlongs. Since then, Ecclesiastic had gone 1 for 15, which explains why he was sent off as the second-longest shot in the field at 24-1.

Javier Castellano guided Ecclesiastic from post 8 to the two-path down the backside as he stalked Weigelia through fractions of 21.76 and 44.27 seconds over the firm inner turf.

Castellano guided Ecclesiastic three wide around the turn and rolled past Weigelia, running a final furlong in 11.71 seconds. Ecclesiastic ($50), a son of Pulpit owned and bred by Joseph Allen, ran the six furlongs in 1:07.64 over firm turf.

Salute the Count rallied up the rail to nose out Weigelia, the 4-5 favorite, for second.

"Now that he's gotten older it doesn't seem that he wants to go long anymore," said Jerkens, who won this race for a fourth time. "I thought if he could stay in striking distance today, he would have a chance."