By Byron King
The long wait for a grade 1 victory is over for Instilled Regard.
Competitive but not victorious for much of the past three years, the 5-year-old son of Arch broke through with the most significant victory of his career by outkicking stablemate Rockemperor in the $400,000 Manhattan Stakes (G1T) July 4 at Belmont Park.
For a good portion of Saturday’s race, it looked as though Instilled Regard might come close to notching such a victory—only to come up short, as had happened previously. Blocked in traffic coming into the lane and with a strong-finishing rival in Rockemperor surging to the lead in front of him, it appeared any rally he might launch would come too late. But after finding daylight by following Rockemperor, the Chad Brown trainee accelerated between horses to catch that rival by a neck.
“He saved all the energy until the end,” said winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. “When I asked him for it, he gave it. I had to work so hard but when I tipped him out, he responded so well. I knew I had a chance to get there, and he got there on time.”
Sadler’s Joy rallied wide from last to grab third, a neck in front of pace-pressing Channel Maker in fourth. Those two runners were the only prior grade 1 winners in Saturday’s race.
Instilled Regard raced 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 2:02.59, though it was his final quarter-mile that was more noteworthy than his overall time. According to Trakus, he closed the final portion of the race in :22.31 to nail Rockemperor.