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Fabulous Strike prevails in Whoop-De-Do True North

ELMONT, N.Y. – Favored Fabulous Strike, back at his favorite track and his favorite distance, survived a suicidal speed duel with longshot Sixthirteen and held off 2008 sprint champion Benny The Bull for a 1¼-length victory in the 31st running of the Grade 2, $250,000 True North Handicap for three-year-olds at six furlongs.

Any worries that Friday’s day-long rain would hamper the Belmont Stakes Day card were put to rest earlier Saturday, but it really became apparent when jockey Eibar Coa sent Sixthirteen after Fabulous Strike. Coa’s whoop-de-do style accounted for a sizzling pace of 21.85, 43.62 and 55.28, before Sixthirteen gave up the ghost on a track listed as “good.” The track was upgraded to “fast” for the next race.

Fabulous Strike had every right to be exhausted, but the classy, 6-year-old Smart Strike gelding kept it together and got home in 1:07.85. The winning time of 1:07.85 just missed Artax’s track record of 1:07.66 set in the Forest Hills on Oct. 16, 1999. Groovy, in 1987, won the True North in 1:07 4/5 in the mud, before racing was timed in hundredths.

“He loves going six furlongs at Belmont,” said winning trainer Todd Beattie, as Fabulous Strike returned $3.80. “I knew we were caught up in that 21 and 4 first quarter. But I also knew that Sixthirteen had to run a lot faster because he started flat-footed. I felt comfortable that he was not going to run by us. I know the track had a speed bias, and I didn’t mind that. We won’t rush back into anything. I’ll have to speak to Mr. (Walter) Downey to discuss our options. Fabulous Strike runs pretty hard and I don’t want to abuse him”

Fabulous Strike has now won 13 of 22 starts and is 4-for-6 at Belmont Park.

Silver Edition was third, followed by Two Step Salsa, Sixthirteen and Desert Key.

 

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