10/05/2014 8:32AM

Ever Rider scores first U.S. stakes in Temperence Hill

Tom Keyser
Ever Rider wins his first U.S. stakes race Saturday in the Temperence Hill Invitational at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Ever Rider, a stakes winner in Argentina, finally earned his first stakes victory in the U.S. on Saturday, rallying past the pace-setting Village Warrior to win the $200,000 Temperence Hill Invitational by a half-length at Belmont Park.

Village Warrior finished second by 9 1/2 lengths over Cary Street, who was followed in order by Slim Shadey, Awesome Vision, and Desvelo.

The win was the sixth from 33 career starts for Ever Rider, a 6-year-old Argentina-bred. It was his second win from nine starts in the U.S. and first in his seventh stakes attempt.

Ever Rider came to the U.S. last year to run in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Santa Anita. He failed to finish the race as the 4-1 favorite.

Though the Breeders’ Cup Marathon has been discontinued, Santa Anita does have a race called the Grade 2, $200,000 Marathon at 1 3/4 miles Oct. 31, the first of the two Breeders’ Cup days.

Ever Rider was coming off a second-place finish to Cary Street in the Grade 2 Greenwood Cup at Parx on Sept. 1. Trainer Marya Montoya said Ever Rider was sick in the weeks leading up to that race and missed some training time. She also believes jockey Kerwin Clark made a premature move in the race.

On Saturday, Javier Castellano rode Ever Rider and kept the horse in third, about four lengths off the pace set by Village Warrior.

Castellano launched a bid mid-way around the far turn, and it took until inside the sixteenth pole for him to catch Village Warrior.

Ever Rider covered the 1 5/8 miles over a sloppy main track in 2:46.03 and returned $5 as the favorite.

“Javier did a beautiful job and waited to make a run,” Montoya said. “I was getting a little nervous because we were six back, and I knew horses weren’t coming from far back. We’re glad to have the opportunity with this horse, and it’s been a great ride.”