Lexitonian Gets 102 Beyer Speed Figure For Vanderbilt Upset - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Lexitonian Gets 102 Beyer Speed Figure For Vanderbilt Upset

Lexitonian wins the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.

It took five years and 19 races, but Lexitonian notched a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure for the first time when he registered his first career Grade 1 victory by topping Special Reserve by a half-length to win Saturday's $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., garnering a 102 number.

The Jack Sisterson trainee came close previously to attaining Grade 1-winner status when finishing second by a head to Flagstaff in a highly competitive edition of the seven-furlong Grade 1 Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day May 1.

After running last-of-sixth and being eased in the Grade 1 Hill 'n' Dale Metropolitan on Belmont Stakes Day June 5, Lexitonian cut back to six furlongs in the Vanderbilt and shined, dueling Special Reserve in the stretch before edging clear, improving his career record to 5-2-2 with earnings at $687,682.

“I was just sitting outside his stall watching him this morning and he looks great and energetic,” Sisterson said. “He came out of the race in great shape. I was really proud of his effort because from a past performance standpoint, he might be a little untrustworthy at times with a good race and a bad race, but he does all the hard work. We don't mind taking a shot with him and being a longshot. As long as he's doing well, he gives us the confidence to run in any type of race we can.”

Lexitonian, who came into Sisterson's care in 2019, won his first graded race as a sophomore when capturing the 2019 Grade 3 Chick Lang that marked his lone graded stakes score before yesterday. Sisterson said the late-blooming success is reminiscent of his sire Speightstown, who did not win a graded stakes until his 6-year-old campaign in 2004 when he won four of them, including that year's Alfred G. Vanderbilt and Breeders' Cup Sprint.

“We always felt, even when we originally got him, that he had talent but could get better with age,” Sisterson said. “Dan Pride from Godolphin stopped by the barn this morning because he has horses with Brendan Walsh, as we share the same barn. Dan told me that Speightstown didn't win his first Grade 1 until 6 and had an 18-month layoff, so I can understand now why Lexitonian is doing what he's doing at the age of 5.”

Lexitonian, a Calumet Farm homebred, won for the first time in his last seven starts overall and posted his first victory since May 2020. Sisterson said it's a possibility the Kentucky homebred could make a return engagement in the $600,000 Grade 1 Forego at seven furlongs on Travers Day August 28.

“Right after the race, I like to set a plan and obviously we're here in Saratoga and he handled the track well yesterday, so the next stop could potentially be the Forego,” Sisterson said. “We'll see how he comes out of the race and goes from there. But you're looking at the race at Belmont [$250,000 Grade 2 Vosburgh on October 9] or bringing back home for the [Grade 2] Phoenix [October 8 at Keeneland]. The ultimate goal is the Breeders' Cup Sprint at the end of the year.”

In last year's Forego, Lexitonian ran fifth in an 11-horse field over a sloppy and sealed track in heavy rain. Sisterson said potential improved conditions could facilitate a better start this time should he choose to run him there.

“I know I'm a little biased, but I didn't think he ran badly in the Forego last year,” Sisterson said. “It was in a downpour and probably not his ideal conditions. He paid $70 yesterday, so no one respected him. But I understand why the public felt that way, because he threw in a clunker there, but when he's on his form, he has a chance.”

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Fellow Calumet Farm homebred Channel Cat set the pace in the $250,000 Grade 2 Bowling Green on Saturday before finishing fourth in the eight-horse field in the 1 3/8-mile inner turf test for older horses. Channel Cat, who was ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez for the third straight race, registered a 97 Beyer in his first race since running seventh in the Grade 1 Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day.

“He looks in great shape this morning,” Sisterson said. “John gave him a great ride. We felt he'd be the speed early and it was, but it just wasn't his day. He's doing well.”

Channel Cat, the winner of the Grade 1 Man o' War in May at Belmont, has already achieved millionaire status, with the 6-year-old English Channel son compiling a 6-3-5 record in 28 starts with earnings of $1,406,022.

Tango Tango Tango, also owned by Calumet Farm, breezed four furlongs in :50.60 seconds on Saturday over the Keeneland Race Course main track.

The 3-year-old Tourist colt, who won his stakes debut last out in the 1 1/16-mile American Derby on July 17 at Arlington Park, was a possibility for the $1 million Grade 1 Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 7. But Sisterson said it's more likely Tango Tango Tango will return to Arlington to run in the $300,000 Grade 1 Bruce D – a race formerly knowns as the Secretariat – on August 14.

“Probably more than likely, we'll go back to Arlington with him,” Sisterson said.

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