Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose, ideally positioned throughout Thursday’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1), surged to the lead at the eighth fence on Belmont Park’s backstretch and turned back a challenge by Modem to win by 1 1/4 lengths.
Robert A. Kinsley’s Modem finished second for the third time in his three American starts by holding off a challenge from Rosbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile by a neck. English invader Casino Markets finished fourth.
Sent to the starter as the 3.35-to-1 second betting pick behind 1.95-to-1 Modem, All the Way Jose paid $8.70 to win after running the Lonesome Glory’s 2 1/2 miles in 4:33.37 on a firm inner turf course.
Bred and trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, All the Way Jose was 2014’s novice champion, but he never quite lived up to his early promise—until this year.
He aced Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Handicap by 15 lengths under Sheppard assistant Keri Brion, and he finished third in the New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) in his first trip with Nagle, who leads this year’s jockey standings.
When the flag dropped in the Lonesome Glory, All the Way Jose went to the front from the inside post, and Nagle then allowed Irv Naylor’s veteran Charminster to set a modest pace while retaining the inside position.
“The plan coming in was to jump him off, sit him where he was comfortable on or close to the lead, and it worked out nicely because he got to sit and carry along with him stalking nicely for the first part of the race,” Sheppard said. “He jumped great.”
Charminster led to the backstretch the second time, but began to slow at the eighth fence, where All the Way Jose punched to the lead. After the last, All the Way Jose had a two-length lead, and Nagle dropped his hands to give his mount a break around the turn.
At the three-sixteenths pole, Nagle asked All the Way Jose to pick up the pace as Modem and Jack Doyle closed ground on them. While retaining his inside position, Nagle urged All the Way Jose to the finish while holding Modem safe.
“I just wanted to ride the horse to suit him best, which was to not rush him early, but once he got into stride, to not check his momentum. I just wanted to let him roll,” said Nagle, who notched his first Grade 1 race at a New York Racing Association track.
“His stride is his biggest asset so you better use it. I think he’s more of a three-mile horse, so he’s pretty constant in his stamina. Even though it was a 2 1/2-mile race, I wanted to ride it like a three-mile race to suit my horse. I could’ve looked stupid, but it went right to plan. It couldn’t have worked out any better than that.”