Bruton Street-US’s Moscato, a dominant novice champion before going to the sidelines prior to his first Grade 1 start in 2017, drew away to an emphatic victory in Saturday’s $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2), the featured hurdle race of the 99th annual Middleburg Spring Races.
Belisarius finished second, and Jaleo was third in a star-studded field of 10.
The eight-year-old Hernando gelding, who won Belmont Park’s 2017 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes in his previous start, provided the second of three victories for jockey Michael Mitchell and trainer Jack Fisher. They had combined forces for a victory with Bruton Street-US’s Special Relation in the allowance hurdle that opened the Virginia meet, and they closed out the afternoon with a win by Gil Johnston’s Days of Heaven in the Alfred M. Hunt Steeplechase over mixed obstacles.
Clarcam, still trying to find his place in American jump racing, went to the lead early, with the Bruton Street triumvirate of 2017 Eclipse Award winner Scorpiancer and Jaleo several lengths behind him. Clarcam ceded the lead to Jaleo at the 11th fence with Scorpiancer second and Moscato shuffled back toward the back of the 10-horse field.
As Foxbrook Champion Hurdle division winner Belisarius moved toward the leaders, Mitchell moved Moscato into a striking position two fences out. Belisarius took the lead over the last under Bernie Dalton and headed for the finish line. But Moscato showed superior late speed and drew away steadily in deep stretch.