Newsdad did go on to capture the 1 ½-mile turf event by two lengths, but not before Julien Leparoux considered all his options.
Leparoux opted to rate the more highly regarded of two Bill Mott-trained runners off the early pace set by stablemate Harrods Creek, who was closely stalked by 9-5 second-choice Simmard around the first turn and along the front stretch.
“You pretty much have two options. You can either go and try to clear on the lead or take back. Bill’s other horse seemed to have more speed so I just took back and tried to get in the clear,” said Leparoux, whose mount had been nosed out by Simmard in the MacDiarmida (G2) last month.]
Leparoux was able to ease Newsdad off the rail to sit just behind the stalking Simmard along the backstretch and followed the Roger Attfield-trained veteran as he passed the tiring pacesetter on the final turn. Simmard, the 123-pound highweight ridden by Patrick Husbands, held the lead briefly as Newsdad, who carried 117 pounds, took over leaving the turn into the homestretch on his way to a fairly comfortable victory.
“I was able to make a little bit of a move pretty early on to get in the clear and from there it was perfect,” Leparoux said. “He made a run around the far turn and finished good.”
Hailstone, the 10-1 longest shot in the small field, closed from last under Joe Rocco Jr. to edge out Simmard by a neck.
“It was the weight. If it were a handicap, we’d have been at equal weights,” said Attfield, whose horse carried six pounds more than his three rivals. “Under allowance conditions, we’ve won a Grade 2 and they haven’t, so we give them six pounds going a mile and a half. But he ran well and seems to have come back well, and we got beat by a good horse.”
Newsdad ran 1 ½ miles in 2:24.93, built on fractions of :25.03, :49.05, 1:13.37 and 1:37.04. His fourth victory in 15 starts and first stakes victory was worth $90,000 to owner James S. Karp.
“With a small field like this it becomes a chess match. We thought he was in the catbird seat in his last race, but he couldn’t get by Simmard, who is a very tough older horse,” said Mott’s assistant Kenny McCarthy, who saddled Newsdad. “He’s a young horse and still developing, so I thought there was room for some improvement.”