Even-money favorite Beren broke sharp from the innermost post and never wavered, posting a gate-to-wire 10 3/4-length win against a pared-down four-horse field in Sunday’s $100,000 Paradise Creek for 3-year-olds moved off the turf at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
The seventh running of the Paradise Creek, originally slated for seven furlongs on the Widener turf course, was moved to the same distance on the sloppy and sealed main track as heavy rain continued throughout the day.
Beren, owned and bred by Susan Quick and Christopher Feifarek, was slated to make his turf debut after posting three wins and two runner-up efforts in eight starts on the main track entering Sunday. The weather postponed those plans for a surface change, but the Weigelia colt thrived in the conditions, leading through the opening quarter-mile in 22.80 seconds and the half in 45.64.
Under jockey Eric Cancel, the Pennsylvania-bred Beren opened up when turning for home, cruising to a double-digit length victory in a final time of 1:23.12. Three Two Zone, who tracked Beren in second position on the backstretch, held off New York-bred Thin White Duke by a nose for second. Fauci completed the order of finish.
Trainer Butch Reid, Jr. said he was looking forward to trying Beren on turf after a win by a nose last out in the Gold Fever over Belmont’s Big Sandy on May 9. Instead, Beren improved to 3-for-4 to start his sophomore campaign, with his only non-win coming when fourth in the Grade 3 Bay Shore in April at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“I didn’t want a soft turf, so I was really glad this morning when they took it off,” Reid said. “Everybody by Weigelia loves the slop. I’ve had a bunch of them and every single one of them runs in the slop. It’s one thing they do have in common besides being very solid horses.
“He stumbled bad in the Bay Shore and last time he hesitated a little bit and Manny [Franco] did a great job to get him to the outside,” Reid continued. “Eric said this time he was standing and focused. I said to him, ‘If he’s ready to go, let him go and see what happens.’”
Beren returned $4 on a $2 win bet and improved his career earnings to $215,420.
“He [Reid] told me to ride him comfortably and that he had some speed, but if the other horse that showed speed wanted to go crazy, just sit off him,” Cancel said. “My horse broke very sharply, so I took all the advantage. He ran one time on the muddy track and won. He loved it. Coming into the race, I had a lot of confidence in him and everything worked out well.”
Alonzo Racing’s Three Two Zone, also looking to make his turf debut in his sixth career start, instead earned a placing in a stakes for the first time in his career, atoning for a 10th-place effort last out for trainer Marya Montoya in the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile on May 1 at Churchill Downs.
“Today wasn’t the best track for him,” said Three Two Zone jockey Kendrick Carmouche. “Coming off the Pat Day Mile, he probably got a little tired today. If you can get him on a better surface, I think he’s going to run a lot better.”
Outadore, Chasing Artie and Second of July scratched.
Live racing continues Monday with a special Memorial Day card that will have state-breds take center stage with six stakes worth a combined $900,000 on at Belmont. First post for the 10-race card is 1 p.m. Eastern.
Starting on May 1, Belmont Park re-opened to a limited number of spectators. All admission must be purchased in advance at nyra.com/belmont/tickets/.
For comprehensive information on health and safety protocols in effect for the Belmont Park spring/summer meet, please visit: https://www.nyra.com/belmont/visit/plan-your-visit.
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