Lubash made the right move at the right time Thursday to win the $150,000 West Point for New York-breds.
Under jockey Jose Lezcano, the 5-year-old Freud horse rallied from last to first on the final turn and rolled to a 1 3/4-length victory. He was 7-2 in the wagering and paid $9.50 while earning the winner's share of $90,000 for Aliyu Ben J Stable.
Lubash finished behind heavily favored Compliance Officer three times in the last year, but he neatly got the best of his rival with a his strong move over a course softened by heavy rain that fell just prior to the start of the race. Compliance Officer, sent off at 4-5 under Javier Castellano, was third, a head behind 17-1 Minnie Punt.
“I’m a very lucky man," trainer Christophe Clement said. "[Owner Leonard Pivnick of Aliyu Ben J Stable, Inc.] sent me a very nice horse in the spring, and he keeps getting better. Jose took him back, we got some rain before the race, and they obviously went a little too quick early on. He won well. He’s getting better through the year; he’s a very nice horse.”
Lezcano had to work hard to restrain Lubash in the opening furlongs, worked out a ground-saving trip and launched a three-wide surge on the final turn.
“As soon as I picked it up from the break, he settled down pretty good," Lezcano said."After that, I waited a little bit to make my move. I had plenty of horse in the last five-sixteenths. I decided to make my move. He gave me an unbelievable kick today. When I asked him, he really accelerated. He has improved a lot.”
Compliance Officer has dominated state-bred competition, winning six in a row, since Brown claimed him for $25,000 in May 2011.
“He ran his race," Brown said. "Lubash coming to the quarter pole got the jump on us. Lezcano rode a good race to get the jump on him. By the time our horse leveled off in the stretch, he had an advantage on us. Javier said he didn’t like the downpour, but I can’t fault the ride or the performance. We just got beat today.”