Three years ago, Hardest Core upset the Arlington Million (G1) off a score in Delaware Park’s Cape Henlopen. On Saturday, Postulation created a sense of déjà vu at Arlington, as he took the same path to victory in the $250,000 American St Leger (G3) for the same connections.
Trained by Edward Graham for Greg Bentley’s Runnymede Racing, Postulation has another point in common with Hardest Core. Both were acquired from high-profile barns, yet found a new lease of life with Graham. Hardest Core, originally with Kiaran McLaughlin, was picked up for $210,000 at Keeneland November.
Postulation, a Juddmonte Farms homebred, started his career with Dermot Weld, but disappeared from view after a sixth in the 2015 Belmont Derby Invitational (G1). He resurfaced for new connections last summer, but didn’t break through until his six-length conquest of the 1 1/2-mile Cape Henlopen on July 8. A further step up in class and trip beckoned, and he passed both tests with flying colors.
With bettors honing in on Mike Maker’s pair of Keystoneforvictory, the 9-5 favorite, and 5-2 Taghleeb, Postulation went off at 5-1. New rider Jorge Vargas Jr. had the eventual winner well placed in third early, behind free-wheeling Crewman through splits of :25.19, :49.58, and 1:13.82. Applicator, chasing in second early, took over as Crewman began to tire, and the whole field took closer order at the mile mark in 1:40.96.
By that point, Postulation was in the midst of his advance. Striking the front with an aggressive move nearing the far turn, he rolled into the stretch, got away from Keystoneforvictory, and stayed on far too well for Taghleeb to threaten. Postulation held sway by a convincing 2 1/4 lengths in a final time of 2:49.45 for 1 11/16 miles on the firm turf.
Taghleeb bested stablemate Keystoneforvictory by a 1 1/2-length margin for second. The top three were virtually in a race of their own at the end, with Tobias fourth ahead of the rest strung out like steeplechasers.
Postulation, who furnished a $12.40 win mutuel, increased his bankroll to $293,809 from a 16-5-4-1 line. During the Irish phase of his career, he broke his maiden at Killarney in his third try as a juvenile. The bay was gelded prior to his 2015 sophomore campaign. He started out with a second as the favorite to Success Days (who soon developed into a major performer and just won the July 29 York [G2] over Mondialiste). The third in that Cork race was the filly Off Limits, ironically the winner of the 8TH race at Saratoga on Saturday. Postulation next scored over Dundalk’s Polytrack, and three starts later, earned his first black-type laurel in the Silver S. at the Curragh before embarking for Belmont.
The Kentucky-bred is by Harlan’s Holiday out of the Group 1-placed Dansili mare Supposition. His second dam, Topicality, is a full sister to dual classic-placed Top Socialite, a multiple Group 3 victress who enjoyed a productive career in America. So did her half-brothers, Grade 1 stars Exbourne and Expelled. This is the further family of multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter/miler Affirmed Success.
Quotes from Arlington
Winning trainer Eddie Graham on Postulation: “When you watch his race at Delaware Park, (jockey) Alex (Cintron) said he couldn’t even pull him up and that the outrider had to pull him up. I didn’t think there was a (distance) question and I thought he would get it done. I don’t know, I guess this is just luck here (referring to his prior success with Hardest Core).
Winning rider Jorge Vargas Jr.: “I wanted to relax him – that was the plan since it was such a long race, but he wanted to be on the pace. When I asked him, he just took off.”
Jockey Jose Ortiz on runner-up Taghleeb: “I had a good trip, very clean. At the three-quarter pole I had to check a little bit, and wait for (Keystonetovictory) to go forward.”
Julien Leparoux, who rode third-placer Keystoneforvictory: “We had a good trip, we sat behind really good. From the three-quarter pole to the wire we were in the clear and he ran good. He was trying.”
Jockey James Graham on fourth-placer Tobias: “I had a beautiful trip. Nothing went wrong, he just wasn’t good enough today.”