10/29/2016 6:38PM

Stallwalkin' Dude gains elusive first graded stakes win in Bold Ruler

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Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Stallwalkin' Dude, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., wins the Bold Ruler Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths.

ELMONT, N.Y. - After suffering some tough beats, Stallwalkin’ Dude finally earned his first graded stakes victory, parlaying a perfect trip under Irad Ortiz Jr. to a 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont Park.

The win was not only Stallwalkin’ Dude’s first in a graded event - this was his 10th try in such a race - but the $120,000 first-place purse pushed the 6-year-old gelding’s career earnings to $1,088,352. Not bad for a horse trainer David Jacobson claimed for $16,000 in September 2014 at Gulfstream Park.

“It’s very rewarding,” said Jacobson, who owns the horse along with Head of Plains Partners. “I didn’t realize he didn’t win a graded stakes; he won so many races for us.”

The Bold Ruler was Stallwalkin’ Dude’s 16th career victory from 46 starts. He has 12 wins from 31 starts and earned $1,008,150 since Jacobson claimed him.

Stallwalkin’ Dude worked out as clean a trip as one would could hope for in an 11-horse field sprinting. He broke alertly, but was quickly taken in hand by Ortiz and settled in fifth position, three to four lengths off the pace set by Green Gratto.

Stallwalkin’ Dude saved ground down the backstretch, tipped three to four wide at the three-eighths pole, took the lead three-sixteenths from home, and was kept to his task as he tired late. Threefiveindia, under Javier Castellano, rallied along the rail to get second by two lengths over Economic Model, the 2-1 favorite. The second- and third-place finishers are both trained by Chad Brown.

Following Economic Model in the order of finish were, in order, Mylute, Green Gratto, Dannie’s Deceiver, Ami’s Flatter, Cadeyrn, Touchofstarquality, Face of Winner, and Farhaan. Liberty Holiday was an early scratch while Gentrify was scratched by the stewards on the advice of the track veterinarian at the starting gate.

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Stallwalkin’ Dude, by City Place, ran seven furlongs in 1:21.66 and returned $10.80 as the second choice.

“At the three-eighths pole he wants to go and he just does it on his own,” Ortiz said. “At the quarter pole, he was moving great, I let him go do his thing. I wait as long as I can and when I asked him he responded pretty good.”

The win was one of three on the card for Ortiz, who tied Javier Castellano atop the Belmont jockey standings with 47 wins apiece with one day remaining in the fall meet.

Though he’s at the end of his 6-year-old season, Stallwalkin’ Dude is as consistent as ever. He entered the Bold Ruler off a second-place finish behind Breeders’ Cup bound Joking in the Grade 1 Vosburgh.

“He’s real good right now,” Jacobson said. “The key to horses like him that love to run and are very sound is go easy in the morning and let them do their running in the afternoon.”

Jacobson mentioned the Grade 3, $200,000 Fall Highweight at Aqueduct on Thanksgiving as a possible next start for Stallwalkin’ Dude. There is also the Grade 3, $250,000 De Francis Dash at Laurel Park on Nov. 19. Both races are at six furlongs.