July 4, 2015
Source: Blood-Horse (Written by: Jeremy Balan)

Tri-Bone Stables’ Effinex went eye-to-eye with two-time grade I winner Tonalist in the stretch and won the $500,000 Suburban Handicap (gr. II) by a head bob July 4 at Belmont Park.

Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the 4-year-old son of MINESHAFT, who carried 117 pounds to Tonalist’s 123, battled with the 2014 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner to the wire and prevailed for the upset under Junior Alvarado, covering the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.55 on a fast dirt track.

Coach Inge, who dueled for the lead with Street Babe with blazing fractions of :22.80 and :46.13 through a half-mile, hung gamely for third, 1 1/2 lengths back. Street Babe faded as Coach Inge ran six furlongs in 1:10.13 and the mile in 1:35.02, but then the race was on.

Tonalist and Effinex seemingly moved up in tandem in the turn and each dug in during the stretch run.

“They went really fast up front, which helped me to not fight with him too much, because he can be a little tough,” Alvarado said of Effinex. “I just tried to save ground as much as I could and by the five-eighths pole I saw Johnny (Velazquez, aboard Tonalist) start to pick it up a little bit, so I kind of moved a little bit just to make sure I still had a good position, but I didn’t want to move that early.”

Effinex didn’t finish in his last start, the Brooklyn Invitational Stakes (gr. II) June 6, but won two starts back in the Excelsior Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack April 25 for his first graded score.

“He was a different horse today,” Jerkens said. “Maybe the crowd on Belmont Day got him all worked up, or he was in a sour frame of mind with the long post parade. That might have  had something to do with it. He was as kind as could be today, the whole time. During the stretch run, I was just happy he was going to run good. If he got beat by Tonalist, that wasn’t going to be a crime, and then when he gutted it out, golly, and Junior got the stick over in his left hand, and that’s what made the difference.”

Off at 6-1 odds, Effinex is brought $15.60, $4.10, and $2.40 across the board. Tonalist, the 2-5 favorite, returned $2.10 for place and show bets. Coach Inge brought $2.50 to show.

Neck ‘n Neck gained ground to finish fourth, followed by Mylute and Street Babe to complete the order of finish.

Effinex was bred in New York by Russell S. Cohen, out of the E Dubaimare What a Pear, and now has a 6-1-2 record from 16 career starts and earnings of $782,250.

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