The Fields Stable’s Bob Le Beau burnished his credentials for the 2015 Eclipse Award when he moved powerfully into Belmont Park’s homestretch, grabbed the lead inside the furlong pole, and held safe Hinterland for a half-length victory in Thursday’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1).
It was the second straight Grade 1 victory for the Irish-bred trained by Elizabeth Voss. Bob Le Beau won Saratoga Race Course’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) by 7 1/4 lengths on Aug. 27.
Sent off as the odds-on favorite at .75-to-1, Bob Le Beau ran the Lonesome Glory’s 2 1/2 miles in 4:41.27 on firm turf. Irv Naylor’s newcomer Dawalan finished third, a length behind Sonny Via’s Hinterland and a nose ahead of Naylor’s Charminster.
Voss said she was concerned that Bob Le Beau would tire under the 154-pound highweight, but jockey Jack Doyle said his mount conserved energy well at the back of the eight-horse field with Hinterland.
Gil Johnston’s Syros set the early pace under Paddy Young and was still on the lead in company with Diplomat and Alajmal as the field entered the homestretch, where the final two fences where blocked off for safety considerations.
Doyle roused Bob Le Beau in early stretch and moved him forward with strong handling. They were third at the furlong pole and quickly moved past Syros and Diplomat to seize the victory. Hinterland, checked by Sean McDermott in traffic at the top of the stretch, closed well for the place spot at 17.90-to-1.
Doyle said Bob Le Beau jumped as well in the Lonesome Glory. “Today, he probably jumped the best he’s ever jumped,” said Doyle. “Two jumps out in the straight probably helped me more than it helped anyone else because I could use his flat speed a little bit more, but I think he would’ve won even if they were there.
“I think he’s a very good horse. He’s a completely different animal compared to last year, and the hood [added by trainer Voss] has made so much of a difference to him. It just settles him, and I think he’s only going to get better from here.”
Bob Le Beau had led the National Steeplechase Association standings prior to the Lonesome Glory and added another $90,000 to his bank account, raising his 2015 total to $216,250.
The next major race on the NSA schedule is the $300,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) on Oct. 17. The Fields Stable’s Your Sum Man won the 2009 Grand National for The Fields Stable, then owned by Betty and Laddie Merck. Betty Merck died in March.
Doyle leads the jockey standings by purse earnings by a large margin and edged closer to Young in the standings by wins. He now has 11 victories to Young’s 13.