Emmanuel Romps Gate To Wire In Pennine Ridge In Turf Debut

Emmanuel made his turf debut a winning one in Saturday’s $200,000 Pennine Ridge (G2) a nine-furlong inner turf test for sophomores, at Belmont Park.

Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher and perfectly handled by Irad Ortiz Jr., Emmanuel, the 9-5 mutuel favorite, led the compact field of six through moderate splits of :25.19, :51.72, and 1:15.91 over the firm inner turf.

The Chad Brown-trained duo of Unanimous Consent and Napoleonic War launched their bids through the final turn with Elizar attempting to advance along the rail. But Emmanuel continued to find more as the field straightened away, powering home to a one-length score in a final time of 1:51.11.

Pletcher said he was pleased with the turf debut for the talented bay, who breezed twice over the Belmont turf in advance of the Pennine Ridge.

“He’s bred for the turf, but he’s always trained really well on the dirt. He’s had some good dirt races, but we kind of wanted to experiment with this,” Pletcher said. “My biggest concern was two weeks ago we worked him and it had a little give to it like it does today, and I didn’t think he was as good as he was the following work when it was firm. It looked like we had a pace advantage and took advantage of that and he ran well.”

Ortiz, who won four races on the card, said he took advantage of Emmanuel’s early foot.

“He was the speed of the race. He broke well and put me in a good position. I just kept it together and stayed out of his way,” Ortiz said. “He was ready. He’s by More Than Ready, so he had a great pedigree to run on turf. I expected that he would like it and he did like it.”

The Flavien Prat-piloted Napoleonic War completed the exacta by a half-length over the late-running Limited Liability with the top-three finishers earning an automatic berth into the 10-furlong $1 million Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) on July 9, the first leg of the Caesars Turf Triple series for sophomores.

Unanimous Consent, Daunt, and Elizar rounded out the order of finish. Main-track only entrant Gilded Age was scratched.

Pletcher, who watched his Dynamic One capture the $200,000 Blame at Churchill Downs just moments after Emmanuel’s win photo, said he’d like to continue on to the Belmont Derby with the versatile colt, who will now look to follow in the footsteps of Oscar Performance [2017] and Catholic Boy [2018], who parlayed Pennine Ridge wins to Belmont Derby success.

“That’s what we’re thinking. We’ll see how he comes out,” Pletcher said. “We haven’t ruled out going back to the dirt at some point. All our options are open.”

By More Than Ready and out of the Hard Spun mare Hard Cloth, Emmanuel made his first four career starts on dirt, graduating at first asking in December at Gulfstream Park and following with a sharp optional-claiming score in January at Tampa Bay Downs.

Emmanuel then tried his luck on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, finishing fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2) in March at Gulfstream ahead of a pacesetting third in the Blue Grass (G1) in April at Keeneland.

Bred in Kentucky by Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust, Emmanuel banked $110,000 in victory while improving his record to 5-3-0-1. He returned $5.80.

The post Emmanuel Romps Gate To Wire In Pennine Ridge In Turf Debut appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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