Battling saddlecloth-to-saddlecloth with Fabulous Strike through the final yards, a determined Black Seventeen, the longest shot in the field at 23-1, got a head in front at the wire to take the 69th running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh over a sloppy Belmont Park racetrack.
Ridden by Clinton Potts and trained by Brian Koriner, the California-based 4-year-old son of Is It True It sat just behind the leaders as Fabulous Strike, J Be K and First Defence wrangled through an opening quarter in 21.75. With the half going in 44.31, Black Seventeen launched his bid on the outside and collared Fabulous Strike in midstretch to prevail in 1:09.77 for the six furlongs.
Fabulous Strike, the 2007 Vosburgh winner who was the second choice in the field of seven, was three-quarters of a length in front of Kodiak Kowboy, who in turn was followed by Rockerfeller, J Be K, favored Lucky Island, and First Defence.
“He ran a good race,” said trainer Todd Beattie of Fabulous Strike. “He ripped his shoe off in the paddock and bent his shoe up. He had to run with a shoe that was sprung on him the whole way. I thought, considering that, it was a considerably good effort.”
Black Seventeen, who returned $49.60 for a $2 win bet, boosted his bankroll to $536,077 with the victory, his fourth in 10 lifetime starts and his first in more than 14 months. Off nearly a year with ankle problems after his last trip to the winner’s circle, on July 17, 2007, in the Grade 2 Carry Back Stakes at Calder Race Course, Black Seventeen returned in June to finish second in a listed stakes at Golden Gate Fields, was fifth in the Grade 2 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga Race Course in July, and in his last start prior to the Vosburgh was second at Del Mar in another listed stakes.
“That was a long way to come to be 23-1 but this horse has won on this kind of racetrack,” said Koriner, who was saddling his first ever starter at Belmont Park. “We raced here instead of California because they have a new synthetic surface and I didn’t want to have to guess what it would be like.”
Winning trainer Brian Koriner of Black Seventeen (No. 7): “I’ve never run a horse here before. That was a long way to come to be 23-1, but this horse has won on this kind of a racetrack. We raced here instead of California today because they have a new synthetic surface and I didn’t want to have to guess what it would be like. There is a lot of quality speed in California and when I saw my draw here, I was happy to be here even though I knew what the racetrack was like. We drew outside the speed and in the past he has run well on the outside.””
Winning jockey Clinton Potts (second Grade 1 victory of his career): “He always tries really hard for me. We’ve always gotten along together rally well. I knew he would like the slop because he ran well on it at Calder last year. I certainly didn’t look up at the odds board. He was a longshot but, I was not disappointed that. If everything comes out good, we expect to the Breeders’ Cup (Sprint, October 25, Santa Anita) and if we go to the Breeders’ Cup, Brian will have him ready. ”
Todd Beattie, trainer of runner-up Fabulous Strike (No. 1): “He ran a good race. He ripped his shoe off in the paddock and bent his shoe up. He had to run with a shoe that was sprung on him the whole way. I thought that, considering that, it was a considerably good effort. It surely looked like he gave me as much as he could. He could run over broken glass.”
Ramon Dominguez, jockey of Fabulous Strike: “He sure did try hard not to get beat. He ran hard. He was pressured all the way. As far as the fast pace, I wasn’t expecting anything different.”