Therapist wins Spectacular Bid going away

Sunday, June 24th, 2018

NYRA/Coglianese Photos

By Sarah Mace

On paper, two-time open stakes winner and graded stakes performer Therapist (Freud) overlaid the 10-horse field that was signed on for 13th running of the $100,000 Spectacular Bid division of New York Stallion Series Sunday at Belmont Park. The only apparent cause for concern was an outside draw in a large field for a 7-furlong turf tilt. Ultimately the homebred for Lynn and Richard Leahy’s Oak Bluff Stables ran to his 1-2 odds, but that didn’t prevent things from getting interesting between gate and wire.

Partnered with regular rider Irad Ortiz, Jr., Therapist settled in midpack well off the rail from his wide post in the early going, but at this stage most eyes had to be on Belleville Spring, who had embarked on a mission. The 18-1 shot gunned to the front of the pack and opened up more than four lengths on his nearest competitor. The early splits were hot: 22.00 for the quarter and 44.34 for the half.

Patiently handled eight lengths off the pace, Therapist made his way toward the inside to save some ground going around the far turn, then moved back outward to get into a good position to get the first run at the pacesetter in the lane.

Belleville Spring still maintained a substantial lead at the quarter pole and did not show any sign of slowing down, but the days of his uncontested lead were numbered. Therapist advanced into second, erased Belleville Spring’s advantage in upper stretch and overhauled him in the approach to the furlong marker.

After cruising past his rival, Therapist won by two lengths going away in a final time of 1:21.07. Another closer, Collective Effort, got up for second after overcoming a poor start, while 2 1/4 lengths back Spectacular Kid finished third. Santo Antonio, closer up on the pace throughout, finished fourth. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Undefeated in three starts at two, including wins in the open Laurel Futurity and Awad Stakes, Therapist was voted 2017 champion New York-bred male juvenile. The colt returned this year with a pair of starts at Gulfstream. Following a solid third in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes on March 3, he won the one-mile Cutler Bay stakes on 28 days later. Freshened briefly, he faced his toughest field yet in the Grade 2 Penn Mile, where he tired in the stretch to finish off the board for the first time in six starts. The cutback to seven furlongs and class relief on Sunday served him well.

NYRA/Coglianese Photo

“He’s a New York-bred and he finally gets to enjoy his New York-bred class and see how good he is,” said Irad Ortiz, Jr. “He’s competitive against open horses. He’s been running so good, he’s been right there with them. He’s won [against] open [company], finished third. He’s always done really good. Against New York-breds, he had it a little easier today, but he’s a nice horse. The way he was feeling today, I thought he was going to run the way he ran. I had a lot of confidence in him.”

Christophe Clement, who also co-bred Therapist with Lynn and Richard Leahy, commented, “Nice win, he’s a nice horse. He’s raced against some of the top 3-year-olds on turf already this year. He won at Gulfstream and came back and ran a touch flat at Penn National in the [Grade 2] Penn Mile. He was a little more anxious than what we like, he’s a pretty busy horse mentally and well named being Therapist by Freud, but he’s a lovely horse with a great turn of foot.”

The conditioner also gave a tip of the hat to the Leahys’ breeding program. “He belongs to Oak Bluff Stables who bred him with me and it’s a great credit to Mr. [Richard] Leahy because he has an amazing breeding program. He also bred Audible, who was in the same crop. Very small group of mares and I’m just lucky to train for him.”

Foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, Therapist is one of two winners out of Lady Renaissance, a winning Kentucky-bred daughter of Sharp Strike who was purchased by Oak Bluff Stables for $15,000 at the 2009 Keeneland November sale. Lady Renaissance has produced a yearling full sister to Therapist and foaled a Temple City colt on February 13, 2018.

Therapist’s career record to date is impressive, with five wins, including three stakes victories, and a third from seven starts and $308,725 in earnings.

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