Off the fourth in the Aug. 5 West Virginia Derby (G3) that capped his sophomore year, one-eyed fan favorite Patch returned to racing May 12 with a Belmont Park allowance win.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Union Rags colt broke from post 2 in a field of nine and raced midpack, seven lengths behind early leader Mr. Buff, who set fractions of :23.48, :46.91, and 1:11.10 through six furlongs. Angling out seven wide in the stretch as he rounded the turn, Patch dug in and drove to the wire to win the 1 1/16-mile event by a neck in a final time of 1:42.61.
Patch captured the hearts of racing fans last year with his runner-up finish in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) and a start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), where he finished 14th before going on to run third in the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1).
"He's never funny about his off side," Pletcher said. "He's very confident about himself and very self-assured."
The Calumet Farm homebred out of the winning A.P. Indy mare Windyindy lost his left eye because of an ulcer as a 2-year-old. He has a 2-2-1 record in seven starts, with earnings of $471,520.
"If every horse had his heart, it'd be a lot easier," said winning rider John Velazquez. "He tries hard. He gives you every bit he can. ... He keeps finding more and more."