Following Sea Dominant In Vosburgh, Earns Spot In BC Sprint

Following Sea gave sire Runhappy his first graded stakes winner with his multi-length score in the Grade 2 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. With this victory, the 3-year-old colt earns a fees-paid, guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Though the field numbered only four, the Vosburgh featured Firenze Fire, last-out second in the Grade 1 Forego, where he attempted to bite eventual winner Yaupon multiple times down the stretch at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Baby Yoda, who earned a 114 Beyer Speed Figure in his last start, also at Saratoga. The six-furlong G2 was all Following Sea, though, improving off of his third-place finish in the G1 H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga and a second via disqualification in the G1 Haskell at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. After Firenze Fire broke through the gate and was reloaded, the short field broke cleanly, with Firenze Fire grabbing a short lead in the race’s opening strides. Jockey Joel Rosario sent Following Sea to the lead within the first furlong and, from there, had no trouble holding off the multiple graded stakes winner.

Maintaining a one-length lead throughout, Following Sea kicked away as the field hit the stretch, stretching his lead out to three lengths before Rosario powered him down. At the wire, the son of Runhappy was 4 3/4 lengths to the good, with Firenze Fire second and Baby Yoda third. Good Effort (IRE) was fourth in his American debut. The final time for the six furlongs was 1:09.20.

Following Sea paid $7.00 and $3.10. Firenze Fire paid $2.50. With only four horses in the field, no show betting was offered. Find this race’s chart here.

The G2 Vosburgh is a Win and You’re In event for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, to be contested Nov. 6 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif. Winners of Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races earn a free guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the corresponding Breeders’ Cup event.

“I thought he ran great. We just wanted to take advantage of the outside post and see how everything unfolded. He really took all the strategy out of play in the first 50 yards. He broke great, put himself right on the front and it seemed like he was in hand throughout,” trainer Todd Pletcher said after the race. “We left the paddock with the idea that we won’t take anything away that comes easily. If he breaks well, that’s great. If he gets in a speed duel, that’s okay, too. So, I said to use judgment and it looked like he made a decision pretty easily. When he made the lead that easily, I was pretty confident. He looked like he kicked on pretty well and Joel [Rosario] wrapped up on him pretty late.”

“I just helped him out of there. It looked like he broke really well and he put himself on the lead. I thought he liked that and he ran a big race,” jockey Joel Rosario told the NYRA Press Office after the Vosburgh. “Todd just told me to ride him the way it came up. He broke sharp and I asked him a little bit to get a position. If somebody else goes, I could sit second but I decided to go to the lead because I was there. He ran really well.”

Bred by owner Spendthrift Farm, Following Sea is out of the Speightstown mare Quick Flip, a black-type stakes winner. The 3-year-old colt has three wins in six lifetime starts, for career earnings of $513,020.

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