Lazarus and Yannick Gingras are too good in the Dan Patch Stakes. Photo: Dean Gillette.
The King has arrived.
Champion New Zealand pacer Lazarus started his North American racing career with a bang on Saturday morning, taking out the U$325,000 Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier Park in Indiana.
And he did so with such authority, from the outside draw, that local media and fans were in raptures post-race at what they had just seen.
His new driver, Yannick Gingras, had no qualms about hunting forward from the wide alley straight off the mobile arm, and he was rewarded with the lead on the turn out of the straight.
“I don’t mind post nine when you’re 1-5 ($1.20), you’ve usually got someone that wants to follow you,” he told local media post-race.
“It’s a lot harder when you’re 99-1 and drawn there.”
“With this horse, I figured I’d leave hard and maybe get away somewhere in the middle and see how it was going to play out.
“I didn’t have a ‘Plan A’ in my head heading in to the first turn, but it looked like I was going to get an easy lead and you know, why not?”
Lazarus set an even tempo throughout. with his fellow countryman Bit Of A Legend on his back and established local star McWicked earward and caught in traffic.
It would be the roughie, Split The House, that would mount the only serious challenge down the straight, but Lazarus always had the race in control and stopped the clock 1.48.4 (5ths).
While the margin wasn’t great, Gingras felt Lazarus always had them covered.
“He just does what he has to do. He’s not one that is going to run away from them.
“He wins by half a length and if the horse on the outside had kept on going, mine would have kept on going too.
“He’s a very smart horse.”
Pushed on the horse’s overall ‘game’ and racing style, Gingras suggested Lazarus exhibits premium versatility.
“I said a couple of times earlier tonight about his style; I don’t think it is anything.
“I think he can do anything you want him to do.
“I think this horse can do it any which way I want him to do it.”
After the race, Lazarus’ holidaying trainer Jimmy Takter tweeted his delight at the win.
“This is what it’s all about. A great horse coming to America and all his fans down under cheering for him and now getting new fans in his new country.”
Takter will soon confirm Lazarus’ next target, and it will more than likely be the Canadian Pacing Derby at Woodbine on September 1.