Susan Quick and Christopher Feifarek’s Beren made up 5 1/2 lengths in the Belmont Park stretch, closed in on Candy Man Rocket with a strong outside move, and gained the edge in the final stride to win the $97,000 Gold Fever Stakes by a nose.
The six-furlong Gold Fever for 3-year-olds marked Beren’s first career stakes win.
Beren broke sharp from the inside post under Manny Franco, remaining unscathed as Roderick stumbled and unseated Joel Rosario coming out of post 3. Both horse and rider were uninjured, with the outrider picking up Roderick in the gallop out.
American Gentleman led what became a five-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in :22.79 on the fast main track, with Beren tracking in fourth. Candy Man Rocket, under Junior Alvarado, overtook American Gentleman at the front with the half going in :46.07, and maintained the edge into the stretch.
But Beren rallied when straightened for home, as Franco gave strong left-handed encouragement. The Weigelia colt had plenty in reserve and closed the deficit in the final sixteenth before getting up in time to win the head bob in a final time of 1:11.25.
Beren, fourth last out April 3 after stumbling at the start in the seven-furlong Bay Shore Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct Racetrack, improved his record to 3-2-0 in eight starts. He has earned $160,420 and at 3-1 returned $8.60 on a $2 win bet.
“The class relief helped. He ran with some tough horses in the Bay Shore,” Franco said. “I knew the horse belonged here. I just wanted to make sure he broke better than he did last time. Today, he broke a step slow again, but I put him in the clear and he was comfortable after that.
“He can go seven (furlongs), but I think the six furlongs made the difference today.”
The Pennsylvania homebred made his first six starts in his native Quaker State before moving up to graded stakes competition last month for trainer Butch Reid.
“It was nerve-wracking, but Manny did a great job,” Reid said. “He got him straightened out and got him to switch leads and he finished really well.
“I’ve found with these Weigelias that they don’t need to be on the lead and they really like a little bit of moisture in the racetrack. I’ve had a lot of them to train and they are all game horses and have done very well for us.”
Beren is out of the multiple graded stakes winner and millionaire Silmaril (by Diamond) and is her first stakes winner. Silmaril foaled a full brother to Beren March 5.