Woodslane Farm’s Overwhelming made a strong move in Belmont Park’s stretch, overtook longshot pacesetter Broxbourne, and edged clear to win Thursday’s $75,000 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths. Schoodic finished third to give trainer Jack Fisher the top three spots.
With Sean McDermott in the saddle, Overwhelming went off at 6.20-to-1 and ran the Entenmann Memorial’s 2 1/4 miles in 4:04.84.
Gil Johnston’s Broxbourne went off as the race’s 29.75-to-1 longshot after a poor effort at Fair Hill in May, but the four-month break freshened his step, and he went to the lead immediately under Darren Nagle. Keeping him company were The Fields Stable’s Wanganui, Overwhelming, and Edith Dixon’s Schoodic, the 1.95-to-1 favorite after his second-place finish in Saratoga Race Course’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) four weeks earlier.
Overwhelming, a Saratoga allowance winner who finished fifth in a Sept. 2 optional allowance hurdle, made his move along the inside into the stretch, opened a length on Broxbourne at the furlong pole, and drew clear to the finish line.
Schoodic edged past Wanganui in deep stretch to take the show spot, 1 1/2 lengths behind Broxbourne and a length ahead of Wanganui.
“It all went to plan,” McDermott said. “He jumped really sweet and traveled really well. A good even gallop was set up front by our other pacemaker [Broxbourne] in the race, and it just worked out great.”
Fisher-trained Choral Society, winner of Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), bobbled at the last of nine fences, nearly unseating jockey Jack Doyle, and was pulled up.
The two fences in the homestretch were not jumped in the run to the finish line for safety considerations. Fisher said Overwhelming’s form on the flat—he is a Hard Spun gelding out of the Grade 1 winner Oh What a Windfall, by Seeking the Gold—gave him an advantage in the long run to the finish.
McDermott, who moved into a third-place tie with Bernie Dalton in the year’s jockey standings, said he did not believe the removal of the fences made any difference for Overwhelming. “I don’t think they cause any additional difficulty. It’s more the firm ground that causes the trouble,” he said.