SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Arnaud Delacour earned the first Grade 1 victory of his training career Saturday afternoon at Saratoga Race Course, saddling Green Lantern Stable's homebred A.P. Indian to a 1 ¼-length score over Holy Boss in the, $350,00 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap.
A. P. Indian, ridden by Joe Bravo, tracked the pace from second, following Delta Bluesman through an opening quarter-mile in 22.26 seconds and a half in 44.63. In the stretch, A. P. Indian hooked up with Holy Boss, the tepid 3-1 favorite who gained ground on the outside nearing the three-furlong pole and, after dispatching Delta Bluesman at the top of the lane, prevailed in a hard-fought stretch battle.
A. P. Indian completed the six-furlong dash in 1:08.25, a fifth of a second off the track record set by Spanish Riddle in 1972. Notching his third straight victory, including the Grade 3 Belmont Sprint last time out, the winner paid $11.40 for $2 win wager.
"He's pretty nice, isn't he?" said Bravo. "When you have good horses like that they make you look good by hanging on. The [final time] is [asking] a lot to go over a course like this, but the most impressive part is that you got Holy Boss and another very fast horse on the inside, huge competition. Overcoming that is really cool."
The 6-year-old Indian Charlie gelding bolsters his lifetime credentials to a 9-4-0 record from 15 starts and earnings of $737,434.
A native of France, Delacour worked for fellow European trainer H. Graham Motion and Christophe Clement before striking out on his own in 2013.
"I thought he fit well with these horses," said the trainer. "It was a little tricky, but knowing he's in good form right now, we thought we had a shot. I had a lot of faith in the horse. "If you look at his career, he's had some minor setbacks," Delacour continued. "But all the time he comes back, he seems to come back even stronger. It's worth giving him time for that. We'll see how he comes back. He ran three weeks and three weeks before. We'd love to see how he comes back. It's a little too far away [the Breeders' Cup]. We'll see."
Catalina Red closed late to for third, followed by Delta Bluesman, All Star Red, Anchor Down, Chublicious and Requite to complete the order of finish.