04/29/2016 5:22PM

Weekend Hideaway spurts clear to win Affirmed Success

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New York Racing Association photo
Weekend Hideaway and jockey Luis Saez win the Affirmed Success Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths on Friday.

Trainer Phil Serpe brought Weekend Hideaway to Florida last fall, ran him twice at Gulfstream Park West and once at Gulfstream, then sent him to South Carolina for a winter's rest. The plan paid off Friday on opening day of the Belmont Park meet when the freshened 6-year-old scored his sixth career stakes win in the $100,000 Affirmed Success.

Weekend Hideaway benefited from a patient ride by jockey Luis Saez, who broke him sharply from the gate in the six-furlong race for New York-breds and then settled him behind the leaders while saving ground.

In upper stretch, a seam opened for Weekend Hideaway, and Saez angled him outside the front-running Little Popsie. Weekend Hideaway spurted clear in midstretch and then had plenty left to hold off Loki's Vengeance by 2 1/4 lengths.

"He had a good break, and I thought he would go to the lead," Saez said. "But the other horse was faster, and we had to wait. In the stretch, he got through, and he was very good. He is a very nice horse."

Weekend Hideaway paid $12.40 to win as the fourth choice in the eight-horse field. Little Popsie set splits of 22.32 and 45.14 seconds over the fast track and tired to finish fifth. Weekend Hideaway completed the course in 1:10.30.

Loki's Vengeance, who won last year's Affirmed Success, raced in midpack early and then had traffic problems in upper stretch when he had to wait behind horses and then angle outside. He finished well for second as the 2-1 favorite.

Drama King went outside horses on the stretch turn and was fanned very wide in upper stretch. He finished willingly from far out on the track to be third, three-quarters of a length behind Loki's Vengeance.

Weekend Hideaway's winter vacation was his first time away from the racetrack in a long time, according to Serpe. He is now 9 for 30 in his career with earnings of $631,532.

Weekend Hideaway has won at least one stakes a year since he was a 2-year-old in 2012.

In 2015, he won the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park. As a 4-year-old, he won the John Morrissey Stakes at Saratoga. In 2013, he took the Gone Fishin Stakes at Belmont. In his first season of competition, he won the Bertram Bongard at Belmont and the David Stakes at Saratoga.

Owned throughout his career by the Red and Black Stable and trained by Serpe, this was Weekend Hideaway's third appearance in the Affirmed Success. He finished seventh to Loki's Vengeance last year and in 2014 finished third, beaten a neck, by Marriedtothemusic.

Stormy Victoria sets course record in U.S. debut

Stormy Victoria, making her first start for trainer Christophe Clement, set a seven-furlong Widener turf-course record of 1:19.47 in the seventh race at Belmont Park on Friday.

Stormy Victoria, a 4-year-old French-bred, was making her U.S. debut and her first start since September. In two years of competition in France, she went 2 for 8 for trainer Mauricio Delcher-Sanchez.

Stormy Victoria rallied from last in the eight-horse field after Sun and Moon reeled off fractions of 22.41 and 44.91. The six-furlong split, when Stormy Victoria was moving to the lead, went in 1:07.83.

The former course record of 1:19.88 was set by Officialpermission in July 2000.

• There is a pick-six carryover of $15,586 at Belmont on Saturday.