LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 19, 2017) – Union Rags Racing’s Big Bend swept to the front at midstretch with a powerful burst and then had more than enough left in the tank to hold off Nessy by three-quarters of a length and win the 23rd running of the $100,000 Sycamore (G3) for 3-year-olds and up before a Thursday afternoon crowd of 11,324.
Trained by Tom Proctor and ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Big Bend covered the 1½ miles on a firm Keeneland turf course in 2:33.24. It was the first win in the race for Proctor and Van Dyke.
A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Union Rags out of the Broad Brush mare Lenataresse, Big Bend became only the second 3-year-old to win the race, joining Mustanfar in 2004.
It was the second consecutive stakes victory for Big Bend and first graded stakes score. In his previous start, Big Bend had won the Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 10 under Van Dyke.
Infinite Wisdom and Hardest Core led the field of 12 through early fractions of :25.95, :50.12, 1:15.52 and 1:41.66 as Van Dyke kept Big Bend in the clear while racing in midpack.
Turning for home, Flashy Chelsey assumed the lead, but Big Bend was right behind him and in the clear. The two raced as a team to mid-stretch where Big Bend opened up en route to victory.
The victory was worth $60,000 and increased Big Bend’s earnings to $327,510 with a record of 11-4-1-1. He is a graduate of Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale.
Big Bend returned $39, $13.80 and $8.20. Nessy, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., returned $12 and $7.20 and finished 1¾ lengths in front of favored Canessar (FR) who paid $4.20 to show under Feargal Lynch.
It was another neck back to Flashy Chelsey in fourth with Tasit, Final Copy, Manitoulin, Some in Tieme (BRZ), defending champion Renown (GB), Majestic Pride, Hardest Core and Infinite Wisdom following in order.
Racing continues Friday with a 10-race program beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET that is headlined by the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Post time for the Pin Oak Valley View, the ninth race, is 5:30 p.m.
@BetKeeneland, Keeneland’s new Twitter handle that delivers real-time handicapping tips and tools to wagering fans, features a Handicapper of the Day series that benefits the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). Keeneland is providing each Handicapper of the Day with a $200 bankroll to wager during the race day, with winnings going to support PDJF. Thursday’s guest handicapper, Samantha Siegel, accumulated winnings of $4,050.
Guest handicappers for the next three days are Jason Crowley of Lexington (Friday), Turf writer Dick Jerardi (Saturday) and Tom Law of the Saratoga Special (Saturday).
Click here for a video of all the fun and racing excitement today at Keeneland