The 5 ½-furlong Tremont featured eight runners, each of whom had broken their maiden first time out and four of the eight were conditioned by trainer Todd Pletcher. But in the end it was trainer Horacio DePaz who got to the winner’s circle with Sagamore Farm’s He Hate Me, who had broken his maiden at Pimlico Race Course May 26.
Direct Dial assumed the lead early in the race, prompted by favorite Salmanazar, who held up the start for a couple of minutes while hesitant to load. Direct Dial ran an opening quarter-mile in :22.09 and continued through a hot half mile in :45.56. Rounding the bend for home, Direct Dial’s lead grew tenuous.
Out in the middle of the track jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. was flying with He Hate Me, who stepped away from the field and stopped the timer in 1:04.47. He was 3 ¼ lengths clear of Direct Dial, who held the place by a nose over Admiral Jimmy. Santana earned his first Belmont stakes win.
“This is a really nice horse. The first time he ran, he broke bad and he still won the race. He’s a class horse,” Santana said. “Today, when he broke, he was closer than the last time. At the three-eighths [pole], I just tapped him on the shoulder, and I then just waited. Turning for home, I took him to the outside and the second that he saw he was in the clear, he took off running again. This is a good horse.”
He Hate Me (Algrorithms—Quiet Holiday, by Harlan’s Holiday) was bred in Florida by Mike Mareina and Nathan Mitts. He returned $13.80, $6.40, and $3.80. Direct Dial paid $3.60 and $2.80, while Admiral Jimmy was good for $4.20.
“I was hoping that he would break on top. It’s kind of a mirror image of what he ran last time,” DePaz said. “Obviously, this is kind of his style: to make a run. In his first race, he lost his marbles in the post parade; he was hollering. They loaded them in the gate. He broke, and he didn’t leave which he’d never done in the morning. He was really professional.
“So that’s why we were bringing him back in two weeks. We’re hoping that running him will mature him, but once he’s running, he’s really professional. We got lucky today. We’ll probably go to Saratoga with him and try to keep him campaigning.”