July 9, 2016
Source: Paulick Report Staff

Tri-Bone Stables’ Effinex rebounded off a poor effort in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster to win this Saturday’s Grade 2, $500,000 Suburban Handicap at his home track by just a neck over fellow New York-bred Samraat. The 5-year-old son of Mineshaft covered 10 furlongs over Belmont’s fast main track in 2:01.04, proving very game to the wire for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. He was once again ridden by Mike Smith, who was unavailable for the Stephen Foster.

“All things came together,” said Jerkens. “I guess he’s a natural at a mile-and-a-quarter. He’s a grinder. It looks like he can outgrind anybody out there, it looks like. We’ll take it.”

Effinex broke very sharply from the center of the field, but Samraat along the outside was just a bit quicker and strode out for the lead, setting a slow first-quarter fraction of :25.31 as he tried to steal the race on the front end under Jose Ortiz. The leading pair were followed by Turco Bravo and Shaman Ghost, with Mubtaahij tucked in between them. Smith and Effinex dialed up the pressure through the next quarter, pressing Samraat through a half in :49.34 while just three-quarters of a length behind. At the three-quarters mark, Samraat and Effinex were nose and nose, covering that fraction in 1:12.70.

Samraat carried out slightly on the final turn for home, but Effinex was undaunted and held his nose advantage. It looked as though the multiple G1 winner would blow on by Samraat, but he pressed on gamely the entire length of the stretch. Effinex was just able to hold a neck’s advantage at the wire over Samraat, with Mubtaahij closing a bit erratically to finish third along the inside rail.

“He ran wonderful,” gushed Smith. “I got him away good. I got to the outside and got in comfortable, and in a rhythm.  He’s funny sometimes. You have to work with him, but I’ve been so lucky to ride him at the right time. The post was right; everything always seems to be right. I just got blessed again.”

Bred in New York by Dr. Russell S. Cohen, Effinex has compiled a career record of nine wins from 24 starts, with earnings of just under $3 million. He also won the Suburban last year. Often a tricky horse to ride in the afternoon, Effinex appeared to be back on track with Mike Smith back in the irons.

“You can’t rule anything out,” said Jerkens in regards to Effinex’s next start. “[The Whitney [Grade 1, $1.25 million, August 6, Saratoga] is a little close. It all depends on how he’s doing, and who’s running. Sometimes it’s better just keep running.”

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