Patch, the one-eyed horse who has become a fan favorite, returned to the winner’s circle Saturday, getting up in deep stretch to win a first-level allowance race by a neck at Belmont Park.
The win was the first for Patch _ who lost his left eye before he ever raced _ since he won a maiden race on Feb. 18, 2017 at Gulfstream Park. Since then, he’d competed in nothing but graded stakes including the Kentucky Derby where he finished 14th. Patch ran third in last year’s Belmont Stakes before ending his 3-year-old season with a fourth-place finish in the West Virginia Derby last Aug. 5.
Saturday, Patch, under John Velazquez, was seventh early, inevitably worked his way to the outside and gradually wore down the front-runners, besting Chris and Dave by a neck, with Mr. Buff another neck back in third.
“I was hoping we had him tight enough and fit enough and hopefully his talent would get him there,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains Patch for Calumet Farm. “I thought at the eighth pole we were going to run out of ground. He was making a good run but I thought he was going to run out of real estate, but he really had a great last 100 yards.”
Patch covered the 1 1-16 miles in 1:42.61 and returned $4.50 as the 6-5 favorite.
Pletcher said he did not have a spot picked out for Patch’s next race.
“We were kind of focused on giving him a chance to get back with a good race under his belt,” Pletcher said. “That’s the first time in his life he was able to run in an allowance condition so I thought he handled it well.”