by Brian Bohl
David Palmer’s Wet Your Whistle had already registered a Grade 1 win on the grass in addition to a stakes win on a synthetic surface. On Sunday, the versatile 5-year-old again produced a professional effort, powering home a 3 1/4-length winner in the Grade 3, $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational at Belmont Park.
Out of the gate, Backtohisroots stumbled and unseated rider Jose Lezcano running loose at the front of the pack. Under jockey Jose Ortiz, Wet Your Whistle was still forwardly placed, staying in second position behind Battle Station before taking command with the opening quarter-mile in 22.47 seconds on the firm outer turf. Ortiz kept pressing his charge, with the half-mile going in 45.15.
The Michael Trombetta trainee maintained the edge out of the turn, with three-quarters going in 56.03, before outkicking Chewing Gum to complete the six-furlong course in a 1:07.87 final time.
“The loose horse broke and kind of kept the two speed horses, Big Wonder and Battle Station, way out on the track,” Ortiz said. “My horse broke very sharp out of the gate, so I just played it by ear. I’m just really glad it worked out.