08/16/2012 6:03PM

Saratoga: Lubash comes from last to win West Point

Tom Keyser
Lubash, with Jose Lezcano riding, wins the West Point.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A new style has made a new horse out of Lubash.

Formerly a front-runner - a style employed to win a New York Stallion Stakes here two years ago - Lubash showed a completely new dimension Thursday, rallying from last to win the $150,000 West Point Handicap by 1 3/4 lengths at Saratoga. The longshot Minnie Punt got second by a head over 4-5 favorite Compliance Officer.

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It was the sixth win from 21 starts for Lubash, but he had lost his previous 10 races, dating back to Nov. 21, 2010, at Aqueduct.

Lubash, a 5-year-old son of Freud, was making his third start for trainer Christophe Clement, who was given the horse by owner Leonard Pivnick during the winter.

In the Kingston at Belmont in May, jockey Jose Lezcano took Lubash off the pace, and despite encountering traffic trouble at the quarter pole he was beaten only three-quarters of a length when he ran second to Compliance Officer. Lubash chased a fast pace when he was fourth in the Grade 3 Red Bank at Monmouth on July Fourth.

With an abundance of speed in the West Point field and a rainstorm softening up what was still labeled a firm turf course, Clement thought it best to have Lezcano take the horse off the pace in the West Point.

"Today there was a lot of speed on paper, so I told Jose to take him back - especially with the rain we got - and he ran great," Clement said.

Lubash was last, about seven lengths behind Johannesburg Smile, who set fractions of 24.40 and 48.57 seconds while being pressed by Street Game.

Lezcano made a four-wide move around the turn and Lubash went from last to first from the five-sixteenths to the three-sixteenths pole and persevered to the wire. Lubash covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.61 and returned $9.50 as the second choice.

In last year's West Point, Lubash set the pace under Lezcano before finishing fourth behind Compliance Officer. Lezcano said this new style really suits the horse.

"He gave me an unbelievable kick today," said Lezcano, who has had a terrific meet with 24 victories in 24 days. "When I asked him he really accelerated. I think he's improved easy 10 lengths from before to now."