Lexitonian (h, 5, Speightstown–Riviera Romper, by Tapit), beaten just a nose in last summer's GI Bing Crosby S. at Del Mar, got his Grade I victory with a shocking, 34-1 upset in Saturday's GI Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. at Saratoga.
Drawn on the fence, he was hustled to the front by Jose Lezcano. The chestnut was pressed through an opening quarter of :22.04 and appeared to be in deep water as streaking former claimer and two back GIII Maryland Sprint Match Series S. winner Special Reserve (Midshipman) loomed large at the top of the stretch and hit the front. Lexitonian never quit, however, and battled back gamely in the lane to turn that one back and win by a half-length. The classy 8-year-old defending sprint champion Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect) was third. Favored GISW Mischevious Alex (Into Mischief) was a no-show eighth.
Scratched at the gate in this race last year and re-routed to the aforementioned Bing Crosby, Lexitonian was a close fifth in a saturated renewal of last summer's GI Forego S. at the Spa. He finished second, beaten only a head at 46-1, in this term's GI Churchill Downs S. May 1. Eased in the GI Metropolitan H. at Belmont last time June 5, Lexitonian geared up for the Vanderbilt with a sharp, four-furlong breeze in :47 (4/113) at Saratoga July 24.
His resume also includes wins in the 2019 GIII Chick Lang S. and Concern S. in Maryland, respectively.
Trainer Jack Sisterson won the first Grade I of his promising career with Vexatious (Giant's Causeway) in last summer's GI Personal Ensign S. at Saratoga.
“Growing up, this sport was a passion of mine and now it's a livelihood,” Sisterson said. “I'm speechless. To be up here on a stage like today and even to compete in a race like this is very humbling.
He continued, “I said to Jose [Lezcano], he's a horse who fights. Please get him out of the gate and engage him early. I believe if you engage him early, he will feel the pressure and respond to that. At the half-mile pole if he comes off the bridle, perfect. That's him and he will respond. It's even better if a horse heads him because he'll fight on again, which happened. He stuck his head out in front today.
“I have to give Lexitonian a ton of credit. He ran in the Met Mile and he was eased. You'd think a horse that was eased and thrown in some clunkers, you'd sit back and think let's drop him down a grade and give him a confidence builder. But I've run him in every Grade I and been hard on him and this is how he responds today.”
Lexitonian's 2-year-old half-sister Miss Raison (Raison d'Etat) debuted for Sisterson with a fifth-place finish at Arlington earlier this month.
Progeny in the pipeline for Riviera Romper — a daughter of 2006 GI Darley Test S. heroine Swap Fliparoo (Exchange Rate) — include a Keen Ice colt of 2020 and a Speightstown filly of this year.
My Meadowview Farm homebred Riviera Romper, a winner of one of seven career starts, brought $310,000 from Calumet carrying her first foal Lexitonian at the 2015 KEENOV sale.
ALFRED G. VANDERBILT H.-GI, $350,000, Saratoga, 7-31, 3yo/up, 6f, 1:09.38, ft.
1–LEXITONIAN, 118, h, 5, by Speightstown
1st Dam: Riviera Romper, by Tapit
2nd Dam: Swap Fliparoo, by Exchange Rate
3rd Dam: Fliparoo, by Buckaroo
1ST GRADE I WIN. O/B-Calumet Farm (KY); T-Jack Sisterson;
J-Jose Lezcano. $192,500. Lifetime Record: 19-5-2-2, $687,682.
Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Special Reserve, 119, g, 5, Midshipman–Love Spun, by Hard
Spun. ($60,000 Ylg '17 FTKJUL; $140,000 2yo '18 OBSMAR).
O-Paradise Farms Corp. & David Staudacher; B-Russell L.
Reineman Stables Inc. (KY); T-Michael J. Maker. $70,000.
3–Whitmore, 123, g, 8, Pleasantly Perfect–Melody's Spirit, by
Scat Daddy. O-Robert V. LaPenta, Ron Moquett & Head of
Plains Partners LLC; B-John Liviakis (KY); T-Ron Moquett.
Margins: HF, 1 1/4, 2 1/4. Odds: 34.00, 3.35, 4.30.
Also Ran: Montauk Traffic, Firenze Fire, Strike Power, Three Technique, Mischevious Alex, Miles Ahead.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.