Clearly Now, trained by Brian Lynch for Up Hill Stable, had not won a race since October of last year, when he took Belmont’s Grade 3 Bold Ruler at the Belmont Sprint Championship’s seven-furlong distance.
Since his Bold Ruler score, the son of Horse Greeley had been plagued by troubled trips, but things finally went his way on Saturday under Jose Lezcano.
“I told Brian [Lynch] last time after the Met Mile, I thought the best distance for this horse was six or seven furlongs,” said Lezcano. “He did the job today. You could see by the way he finished. He really came running at the end.”
The break provided a tense moment for Lynch, who believed his trainee was due for a good trip.
“When he broke a little slow I thought, ‘oh boy, here we go again,’ but when he cruised up on the inside near the 4 ½ pole I could tell Jose [Lezcano] had a lot of horse,” said Lynch.
Clearly Now, who paid $6.40 to win as the narrow favorite, bested the previous track of 1:20.17 set by Left Bank in 2002. The dark bay or brown colt enhanced his bankroll to $810,786 with the winner’s share of $220,000.
“We’ll look at some spots at Saratoga, and ultimately, the Breeders’ Cup would be in play,” said Lynch.