ELMONT, N.Y. – Captain Bombastic and Luis Saez made their return to New York a winning one Sunday at Belmont Park with Saez finding room in deep stretch to guide Captain Bombastic through to win the $100,000 Mike Lee Stakes.
Bottled up on the inside and behind horses for about six furlongs, Saez was able to find space between the pacesetting Listentoyourheart and the pace-prompter Three Jokers inside the eighth pole. Though Listentoyourheart wasn’t wavering, Captain Bombastic overtook him about 50 yards from the wire to win by 1 1/4 lengths.
Listentoyourheart, a 38-1 longshot, finished second by one length over Dream Bigger, the 8-5 favorite. City Man was fourth followed by Three Jokers, Mission Wrapitup, Bourbon Bay, and Gandy Dancing.
Sunday was Saez’s first day back in New York after spending the winter and part of the early spring in South Florida. He had not ridden since May 17 owing to suspensions from last year, including the Kentucky Derby aboard Maximum Security.
“There was a nice pace up front,” said Saez, who went 1 for 9 on the card. “I knew we had a couple of speed [horses] outside of us, so the plan was to track them. We got our spot and when we made our move he responded.”
Captain Bombastic improved his record at Belmont Park to 3 for 3 – and 3 for 6 overall – including a victory in last fall’s Sleepy Hollow Stakes. Captain Bombastic had spent the winner at Oaklawn Park where he twice finished second in open company allowance races including once to Belmont Stakes-bound Pneumatic.
“His races out there he went against tough completion,” said Englehart, who trains Captain Bombastic for Jay Hanley’s Team Hanley partnership. “He just looked really good coming into this race. He’s not really a big horse, he’s very athletic. I thought Luis did a great job. I didn’t want to be behind horses on the fence, I thought we’d be in the clear but it worked out well.”
Captain Bombastic, a son of Forty Tales, covered the seven furlongs in 1:21.94 and returned $8.20 as the second choice.