The victory was the fourth consecutive for Hyperbaric, who notched his first Grade I win while covering 1 1/16 miles on the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:41.29. Formal Decree finished three-quarters of a length back in second, followed by Becrux, Proudinsky, Medici Code and even-money favorite Whatsthescript in the field of nine older horses.
The victory was the fifth in a Grade I race in 2008 for 26-year-old Baze, who guided Mast Track to a front-running upset in the Hollywood Gold Cup in June.
"He's a nice horse,” Baze said. “He's game. He doesn't like to let horses get by him. This is the second time I've ridden him. The first time I rode him we had kind of had a troubled trip. I probably should have won on him that day Daytona beat him a neck. Today they gave me another chance to ride him and he gave me 100 percent.”
Hyperbaric, the third choice, paid $13, $6.20 and $4. Second-choice Formal Decree returned $6.80 and $4, while 23-1 shot Becrux paid $9.
Hyperbaric, winner of the Oak Tree Mile in his previous start, had not run in two months.
“There wasn’t much speed in the race, that’s why I passed the Breeders Cup’,” trainer Julio Canani said. “He was invited to Hong Kong to run December 15th, but I preferred to run him in here. My horse came fresh into the race, so I felt he had a pretty good chance. I think we’re going to point him towards the Duty Free in Dubai.”
The victory, worth $240,000, boosted Hyperbaric’s earnings to $654,476. He has won seven of 12 starts.
German-bred Formal Decree was not able to overcome the early speed of Hyperbaric, but jockey Jean-Luc Samyn had no complaints.
"He ran a really great race,” Samyn said. “We're really pleased. Of course it would be better if we had won. We knew there was only one horse with speed. I didn't really know if he was going to be on the lead because it looked like he liked to lay second. If he didn't go, I was going to be on the lead. When that other horse went I was happy to be second. I thought at the sixteenth pole maybe we could get there, but the winner ran a heck of a race."
Italian-bred Becrux closed from sixth at the top of the stretch.
"I’m so proud of him,” jockey Mike Smith said. “He ran a winning race, but just ran out of ground. He was catching them. He was the only horse really finishing. I thought he ran dynamite."
In the co-feature, Shadwell Farm’s Habaya closed from mid-pack under Richard Migliore to win the $113,800 Miesque by three-quarters of a length over Internallyflawless. Eloquently was just a nose back in third with favorite Emmy Darling another nose back in fourth in the field of 12 2-year-old fillies.
Habaya, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, covered one mile on turf in 1:37.07 while rewarding backers with payoffs of $6.80, $4.20 and $3.20. Internallyflawless paid $4.60 and $3.80, while the show payoff on Eloquently was $4.80.
Habaya, a winner of two of three races, broke her maiden in her career debut in September at Belmont Park, then finished second in the Jessamine at Keeneland in October. All of her starts have been on turf.
“We’re going to space out her races a little bit, look after her, and have big goals in mind next summer like the American Oaks,” said Neal McLaughlin, assistant trainer to his brother. “I really feel like she is a filly that wants to go a mile and one-quarter. Our main worry was the mile might be a little short for her because she really is bred to go a mile and one-eighth or a mile and one-quarter.”
Habaya, a daughter of Storm Cat out of champion Golden Apples, banked $73,800 to raise her earnings to $135,000.