Yielding the lead to Catholic Boy after a quarter-mile, Preservationist sat chilly in second before re-engaging that favorite approaching the stretch and then drew off with authority to capture Saturday’s $700,000 Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park in his stakes debut for owner Centennial Farm and trainer Jimmy Jerkens.
Enduring various stoppages in his career, the now six-year-old son of Arch rewarded that patience with a 4 1/2-length victory under Junior Alvarado in just his eighth lifetime start. The final time for 1 1/4 miles over a fast track was 1:59.99.
“Jimmy is a hell of a trainer and a great horseman, so I knew he was going to get him ready for this race, and that’s what he did,” Alvarado said. “My horse broke good, and I let him find his rhythm. He took the lead during the first part of the race and then Catholic Boy came on the outside – a little keen. I wasn’t worried. I was trying to give a nice, confident ride to my horse. At the five-sixteenths pole, when it was time to pick it up, I asked him, and he was there for me. He gave me a nice run in the end.”
The second choice in a field of 11, Preservationist paid $9.90. Catholic Boy held second by three parts of a length over Pavel.
Second in his June 2016 debut at Belmont, Preservationist did not see action again until December 2017, when he finished third. He then won a maiden and an allowance at Aqueduct prior to being out of action from mid-February 2018 until January 5 of this year.
Third in his allowance sprint comeback, Preservationist rebounded to win a second-level allowance on February 2 and a third-level allowance on May 23 in his last two starts. His record now stands at 8-5-1-2, $572,300.
“He was so nice and relaxed coming off of a big race, so I thought he’d be fit enough,” Jerkens said. “He’s got a lot of talent but he’s got stamina too. He has a lot of quality all through his female family. Nice to see it all come together to pick up a graded stakes win here today.”
Bred in Kentucky by Emory Hamilton, Preservationist is out of Flying Dixie, a Dixieland Band half-sister to Grade 2 winner Hungry Island and Grade 3 winner Soaring Empire. Preservationist’s third dam, Grade 1 winner Chic Shirine, is also the ancestress of Grade 1 winners Verrazano, Keen Ice, and Somali Lemonade.