09/30/2017 9:28PM

Respect the Hustle rallies to victory in Oak Tree Juvenile Stakes

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Shane Micheli/Vassar Photography
Respect the Hustle drew clear to a 1 3/4-length victory under Juan Hernandez in Saturday's Oak Tree Juvenile Stakes.

Trainer Bill McLean couldn’t wait to stretch out Respect the Hustle ($10.40), and the Colonel John colt showed why on Saturday when he wore down the leaders in the stretch to win the $75,450 Oak Tree Juvenile Stakes at the Oak Tree at Pleasanton meeting.

Juan Hernandez settled Respect the Hustle in midpack and was content to sit there until the field reached the stretch. He eased him out for the drive, and the colt ran past early pacesetter Axelrod, and Night At the Opera, who took over the lead at the top of the stretch.

Respect the Hustle made up a 2 1/2-length deficit as he pulled away from Night At the Opera, beating that one by 1 3/4 lengths and covering one mile and 70 yards in 1:43.92. Odds-on favorite Artie B Good nosed out Axelrod for third, another 1 1/2 lengths back.

“Even turning for home, I was thinking he might be second, but he really picked it up that last eighth of a mile,” said McLean. “He’s a really good colt, and he’s smart, he doesn’t do anything wrong.”

McLean was a bit surprised at where Hernandez placed Respect the Hustle, but commended his patient ride that saw the colt finish so well.

Owned by a seven-person partnership headed by Chris Carpenter, Respect the Hustle was privately purchased at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale for $32,000.

Saturday’s victory was worth $45,000, increasing the colt's career earnings to $84,985 with two victories, including a maiden win on the turf, from five starts.

McLean said a decision would be made in the next week on what’s next for the colt, but that he would not be asked to sprint again.