ELMONT, N.Y. – A little jostling in the stretch among the challengers was not a problem for Majid, who led from the start and held on to win the $150,000 Easy Goer for 3-year-olds on Saturday at Belmont Park.
The 1 1/16-mile Easy Goer kicked off a Belmont Park card extravaganza of 10 stakes, including eight Grade 1’s culminating in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.
Zayat Stables’ Majid extended his perfect record to 4-for-4 this year as Luis Saez hustled the son of Shackleford to the lead early and stayed there, covering the first quarter-mile in 23.70 seconds, the half in 47.55 and three-quarters in 1:11.46.
Majid was a length ahead of second-place finisher Still Dreaming, who was disqualified to fourth place after a steward’s inquiry determined Still Dreaming drifted out in late stretch and impeding Alwaysmining.
Grumps Little Tot, a supplemental entry to the race, finished third and was moved up to second. Alwaysmining was moved up to third and Outshine, the even-money favorite was fifth and last. Dream Maker was scratched.
Majid’s winning time was 1:41.55 and the bay colt sent off as the 5-1 third choice returned $12.60 for a $2 win bet.
“The plan coming in was to take the lead,” said Saez. “In his last race, when he took the lead he was very relaxed. When we came down the stretch he responded. When I saw them coming I just tried to ride hard and thank God we passed the wire first.”
Majid, trained by Rudy Rodriguez, earned $82,500 to nearly double his earnings to $171.805. The colt was 0-for-2 for two different trainers before Rodriguez took over in 2019. Majid broke his maiden at Aqueduct in January, then won a pair of one-mile allowance races, one at Laurel, the other at Belmont on May 10.
“He looked like he was improving over the last couple of races and he ran great today,” said Rodriguez. “He showed heart today. It looked like he started to go to the lead, and he kept his determination so that was good to see he can do that, and hopefully he can keep doing that.”
The Easy Goer is named for one of the most popular horses in New York, who finished second to Sunday Silence in the 1989 Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and Grade 1 Preakness, but came back and spoiled the colt’s Triple Crown try by winning the Belmont Stakes.
“It means a little extra winning a race at Belmont on the Belmont card, definitely,” said Rodriguez. “It’s special when you win at Belmont and especially on a day like this that everybody looks to win a race. And for sure it’s even more special to win a race named for Easy Goer.”