MUBTAAHIJ, the 2-1 favourite for Saturday’s Gr2 Suburban Handicap over 2000m at Belmont Park, finished third to Effinex in a scratched-reduced field of seven older horses.
Mubtaahij, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. angled in sharply to what appeared to be the deeper footing along the rail while attempting to rally near midstretch. He was beaten 1,35-lenths into third.
Effinex (Mike Smith up) added another chapter to the Jerkens family legacy in race, successfully defending his title in the 130-year-old fixture with a hard-fought neck decision over a game Samraat. It was the sixth time either trainer Jimmy or his father, Allen Jerkens, have won the prestigious event.
Smith, who has now won the Suburban three times, said “I’m so blessed to be able to come back to New York to ride for the Jerkens family. I’ve gotten the opportunity to ride him [Effinex] at the right time, every time. The horse acted right today. I was able to put him in a good spot on the outside. He got to loafing a little bit at the end, and he made me work for my money, anyway.”
Mike de Kock commented: “Well done to Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum for having the resolve to send Mubtaahij to the US again. I believe this horse has a big race in him, in the States. The Suburban has a formidable record of winners including recently Easy Goer and Invasor, it’s a good yardstick for what’s to come.”