1997 Suburban Handicap Grade I
Skip Away confirmed yesterday that he has risen to the top of his class, battling back to win in the homestretch over Will's Way and Formal Gold in the 111th running of the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park. Those three horses may be the East Coast's answer to the handicap stars of the West: Gentlemen, Siphon and Sandpit. In any case, they gave stirring performances yesterday. Skip Away opened the year with four straight losses since the memorable day last October when he defeated the great Cigar by a head in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. That was his sixth victory of 1996, and it clinched his election as the champion 3-year-old colt of last season. But this season, he did not win until May 31, when he outdueled Formal Gold by a head with Will's Way third in the Massachusetts Handicap. Then he removed all doubts yesterday. He again showed peak form and the instincts of a classy fighter as the three horses turned for home at the head of the six-horse field with three celebrated jockeys positioning them for the final quarter-mile: Shane Sellers aboard Skip Away, Jerry Bailey on Will's Way and Mike Smith riding Formal Gold. Skip Away was running third behind his two Eastern rivals, but he challenged Will's Way for the lead once on the turn for home, wrested the lead away briefly and then entered the stretch still third and apparently finished. But Sellers moved him from the softer rail to the outside, and Skip Away found the stamina to crank up another rally as he rolled through ...
Tags: belmont, park, horse, racing, skip, away, wills, way, formal, gold, shane, sellers, sonny, hine, tom, durkin
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