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Zanjabeel powers to the wire under Jack Kennedy in the Grade 1, $175,000 Lonesome Glory Stakes at Belmont Park today. TOD MARKS PHOTO

Zanjabeel solidified his position atop the National Steeplechase Association’s championship ladder on Thursday with a gritty, hard-fought victory over a resurgent Hinterland in Belmont Park’s $175,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1).

The 2 1/2-mile Lonesome Glory was Zanjabeel’s second Grade 1 victory of the year, following his easy five-length score in the $200,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois at Nashville on May 12 and increased his 2018 earnings to $265,500. He has finished no worse than second in his five U.S. starts.

Owned by Rosbrian Farm and Meadow Run Farm, Zanjabeel would have no easy time in the Lonesome Glory, for which he was third in the weights at 156 pounds, two behind Clarcam, also owned by Rosbrian and Meadow Run, and Rosbrian’s Optimus Prime, winner of Saratoga Race Course’s $175,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) on Aug. 23.

Irish-based jockey Jack Kennedy, who rode Zanjabeel in his U.S. debut last fall in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for novices, received the call from trainer Ricky Hendriks after Ross Geraghty remained on Optimus Prime.

Clarcam, trained by leading Irish horseman Gordon Elliott, went to the lead and set a moderate pace under Jack Doyle, with Optimus Prime close to his pace and Zanjabeel flowing easily over his fences in third or fourth position.

Clarcam retained his lead at the last fence, located on Belmont’s backstretch, and briefly opened a daylight lead on the final turn. But Kennedy was moving Zanjabeel forward on the inside, and they seized the lead early in Belmont’s stretch. Meanwhile, Gregg Ryan’s Three Kingdoms launched a big move on the outside as Clarcam weakened.

Three Kingdom’s move fell short, but Sonny Via’s Hinterland accelerated from the back of the field under Sean McDermott and was closing ground on Zanjabeel with a sixteenth-mile remaining. McDermott was getting everything from Hinterland, and Kennedy, sensing the challenge, went to work on Zanjabeel.

As the finish line approached, Zanjabeel kept his challenger at bay and won by 1 3/4 lengths as the 1.70-to-1 favorite. Jack Fisher-trained Hinterland finished second at 33-to-1, a neck ahead of Optimus Prime. Three Kingdoms finished fourth.

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Belmont recap: Zanjabeel shows who’s boss while Boss Man continues his rise through the ranks

Rosbrian and Meadow Run Farm's Zanjabeel, making his first start since winning the G1 Iroquois in May, sat off the pace set by Clarcam and held off a late charge by Hinterland to take the Grade 1, $175,000 Lonesome Glory at Belmont Park on Thursday with jockey Jack Kennedy flying in from Europe for the ride for hot-as-a-pistol trainer Ricky Hendriks. It was also a big day for Bill and Carrington Price's Boss Man, who held off Ice It to capture the $75,000 William Entenmann Novice Stakes for another hot trainer, Arch Kingsley, and jockey Michael Mitchell. The 8-year-old son of English Channel is a horse on the move. He broke his maiden on his home course at the Queens Cup Races in April, won at Saratoga, and finished third in the Michael Walsh Novice Stakes 20 days later at the Spa. At Belmont, he went wire to wire in the Entenmann. Tod Marks has the photo recap.

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SOME FACTS ABOUT JUMP RACING IN NORTH AMERICA

$5,998,500

NSA PURSES IN 2017

480 HORSES

RAN IN 2017

+1,000,000

SPECTATORS EACH YEAR

12 STATES

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