06/09/2017 3:02PM

He Hate Me keeps his cool and wins Tremont

Barbara D. Livingston
He Hate Me, ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. and trained by Horacio De Paz, wins the Tremont Stakes on Friday.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Precociousness is a mark of early 2-year-old racing, but so too horses who advance in terms of maturity, and that was never more evident than in the $150,000 Tremont Stakes on Friday at Belmont Park. He Hate Me rallied for the win after being forced to wait in the gate, while the cause of the delay, favored Salmanazar, acted immaturely prior to the race and sputtered after forcing the early pace.

Every horse in the eight-horse field had raced once and had won, with He Hate Me debuting at Pimlico only two weeks ago. Back on short rest, he broke far better than he did in his debut, then rallied with authority to win convincingly under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr.

“The first race really helped him mature,” said Horacio De Paz, a former assistant to Todd Pletcher who now trains privately for the Sagamore Farm of Kevin Plank. “The first race he lost his marbles in the post parade.”

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That was what happened on Friday to Salmanazar, one of four horses in the field trained by Pletcher and the race’s 8-5 favorite. He bolted during the post parade, then was very reluctant to load, with several handlers finally coercing him into a starting stall whose front doors were left open while he was loaded to ease him in.

“He acted like he didn’t know what he was doing,” said his rider, John Velazquez, who was aboard for Salmanazar’s thoroughly professional win at Keeneland April 26.


He Hate Me, fourth entering the lane, drew clear to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Direct Dial, who set the early pace and just held off Admiral Jimmy by a nose for second. Direct Dial, hounded early by Salmanazar, set fractions of 22.09 seconds for the quarter and 45.56 seconds for the half. Salmanazar, his early rival, finished seventh.

He Hate Me completed 5 1/2 furlongs on the fast main track in 1:04.47. He is a colt by Algorithms who was purchased as a yearling for $90,000. De Paz said former trainer Stanley Hough, always known for his success with young horses, is a consultant for Sagamore and was instrumental in selecting He Hate Me.

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“He’s a sharp horseman,” said De Paz, who said Hough also helped pick out Recruiting Ready, who starts in the Woody Stephens for 3-year-olds on Saturday.

He Hate Me ($13.80) is named for what running back Rod Smart had on the back of his jersey when he played in the XFL. De Paz said he would make his next start at Saratoga.