08/06/2017 11:19PM

Elliott Bay survives inquiry to break maiden in WTBOA Lads Stakes

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Reed Palmer Photography/Emerald Downs
Elliott Bay held off Sippin Fire to win Sunday's WTBOA Lads Stakes by three-quarters of a length.

Elliott Bay survived a steward’s inquiry and paid $16.80 for his win over Sippin Fire in the $45,000 WTBOA Lads Stakes for 2-year-olds at Emerald Downs on Sunday.

With Jennifer Whitaker aboard, Elliott Bay drifted in midstretch and appeared to intimidate Sippin Fire, who was steadied by leading rider Rocco Bowen. The stewards ruled Elliott Bay did alter his path, but there was still enough room for Sippin Fire to slip between the winner and Winter Knight.

The race changed dramatically when the 4-5 favorite, He’s Not Grey, was scratched after he flipped in the starting gate.

Elliott Bay got bumped at the start of the race, but recovered quickly and sat just off Winter Knight, who posted a half-mile time of 45.39 seconds. Elliott Bay took the lead turning for home and was able to hold off the late bid from Sippin Fire to win by three-quarters of a length. Sippin Fire stalked the leaders from the inside, moved off the rail to make his bid between Elliott Bay and Winter Knight, and finished well after steadying approaching the eighth pole. Brown Tiger, third, looked like a serious threat at the top of the stretch, but hung.

The final time for six furlongs was 1:10.48.

In his previous start in the Emerald Express Stakes, Elliott Bay broke from the rail and set the pace before tiring to finish fifth. He chased the pace and finished willingly to miss by a length in his debut on June 18 at Emerald.

“I felt very comfortable with him being outside,” said Whitaker.  “He did drift in a bit, but I grabbed him as fast as I could, and he didn’t bump anybody. I think the farther he goes the better he’ll be.”

Elliott Bay is trained by Howard Belvoir and owned by Rising Star Stable II.

The same connections won the Lads last year with So Lucky.