07/09/2016 4:31PM

No Distortion may head to Haskell after impressive Long Branch victory

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
No Distortion, under Gabriel Saez, wins his stakes debut in the Long Branch for 3-year-olds.

No Distortion needed seven tries to win his maiden and three attempts before he cleared his first allowance condition. But based on how well he ran in his stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Long Branch Stakes, don’t be surprised if the Delaware Park-based No Distortion returns to Monmouth Park at the end of the month for the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational.

No Distortion put himself in the picture for the July 31 Haskell when he survived an early pace duel with Tiz Long Gone and disposed of first-time dirt runner Unbridled Daddy to easily win the 1 1/16-mile Long Branch for 3-year-olds.

"“The way he ran over this track today, if he comes out good, we certainly want to come back for the Haskell," trainer Larry Jones said.

Jones noted that Brereton Jones, the owner and breeder of No Distortion, finished second in the 2014 Haskell with Albano.  He said No Distortion, a half-brother to $2 million earner Proud Spell, has taken some time to develop.

“We always thought he was a good horse,” Jones said. “But we had to convince him he was a good horse. He’s finally putting it all together."

No Distortion ($7.80), a son of Distorted Humor, earned a berth in the Long Branch by dominating a first-level optional $12,000 claimer at Delaware Park by nearly 12 lengths, earning a career-best 95 Beyer Speed Figure.

Breaking from the outside in a field reduced to five by the early scratches of Someday Jones and Voluntario, No Distortion and Tiz Long Gone dueled through a half-mile in 47.09 seconds, with Unbridled Daddy ready to pounce while a half-length behind.

Tiz Long Gone faded approaching the turn for home and wound up last, but Unbridled Daddy, part of a three-horse uncoupled entry for trainer Todd Pletcher, got within a head of No Distortion after six furlongs in 1:10.76. No Distortion then kicked clear, opening up by two lengths and was comfortably in front by 3 1/4 lengths at the wire, completing the distance on a track upgraded from muddy to good in 1:42.81.

Unbridled Daddy, making his first start on the main track after going 2 for 7 on turf, was second, three lengths clear of Uncle Vinny. It was another 4 3/4 lengths back to Azar, the 6-5 favorite.

“Around the second turn, he really started to get it into gear,” said Saez, who has been aboard for each of the No Distortion’s last two wins. “When it was time to get going, he just answered and got the job done.”

No Distortion is now 3 for 11 overall with earnings of $142,480.