Todd A. Pletcher Racing Stables, Inc.

Anchor Down Runs Away in Westchester Stakes

Anchor Down Runs Away in Westchester StakesAlto Racing's Anchor Down splashed his way to a 6 3/4-length victory in the $150,000 Westchester (gr. III) May 7 at Belmont Park, picking up his first graded stakes win and stamping himself a contender for the $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) on June 11.

Most recently seen finishing fourth in the Carter Handicap (gr. I) in April, Anchor Down was sent straight to the lead by jockey Jose Ortiz, where he ticked off fractions of :23.28, :46.88 and 1:10.84 with Stormin Monarcho and Samraat in pursuit. Shaking clear of those rivals once straightened for home, the 5-year-old gray son ofTapit   rolled unchallenged to the finish line, covering the mile in 1:35.10 over the muddy, sealed track.

"The horse broke great and when I asked him to go at the quarter pole, he just exploded and gave me everything he had; I didn't have to use my whip," said Ortiz. "I didn't push him too much and he gave me a great run."

The victory was the first of the year for Anchor Down, who began 2016 with a pair of third-place finishes at Gulfstream Park, including the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II), in which he was disqualified and placed fourth. Overall, he is 4-1-2 from 13 career starts and now has earned $276,920.

"This race has been on our radar for a while," said Byron Hughes, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "I wasn't surprised he won so convincingly; he's put in some big efforts before against some nice horses. He'd breezed well for this race, and he'd been training well since his last race. The Metropolitan Handicap is possible; we'll see how he comes out of this."

Sent off at odds of 9-5, Anchor Down returned $5.70 for a $2 win bet.

Multiple graded stakes winner Samraat, making his third start since June 2014, was second, 3 1/4 lengths in front of Mylute.

"He ran terrific," said Rick Violette, who trains Samraat for My Meadowview Farm. "It was nice to see him handle a little bit better quality of horse than he ran against last time. Moving forward we are going to have a lot of fun.
"We'll think about (the Met Mile)," added Violette. "Really, his 'A' game is running a little bit further than a mile. This was a perfect spot timing wise. I'll talk with the owner and see what his thoughts are but the Met Mile isn't out of the question."
Red Vine, the 4-5 favorite, was fourth, followed by Stormin Monarcho and Matterhorn.

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