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Fast Bullet fires in True North

TRUE NORTH H. | PURSE: $400,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 2 | 6 FURLONGS

The sporadically campaigned Fast Bullet proved too swift for his six rivals, including entrymate Justin Phillip, in Saturday's $400,000 True North Handicap at Belmont Park.

Making just his fifth career start and first since December 6, the five-year-old Speightstown horse broke on top in the six-furlong dash and never relinquished that position en route to a 2 ½-length score. After ripping through early splits of :22 2/5 and :45, Fast Bullet finished up in 1:08 1/5 over a good track under Joel Rosario and returned $3.60, $3.40 and $2.30 as the 4-5 favorite.

Owned by Ahmed Zayat and trained by Bob Baffert, the California-based Fast Bullet was followed under the wire by Justin Phillip, who is owned by Zayat but trained by Steve Asmussen. Justin Phillip had 4 1/2 lengths on Laurie's Rocket, who edged Off the Jak for third by a neck. Sage Valley was fifth while 2012 True North winner Caixa Eletronica trailed throughout. Reload was scratched after competing in Friday's Jaipur.

"Bob sent him in and said he was ready to roll," said Sonja Terranova, assistant to Bob Baffert. "He came in here and trained great the last few days. He was ready, just like [Bob] said he was. Joel was just cruising on him. I mean, he had a ton of horse. Bob said he's really fast; the main thing was just getting him out of the gate, which he did, and that was it."

Fast Bullet started and won twice in the fall of 2011, taking a six-furlong maiden at Santa Anita by 6 ¼ lengths and an allowance at Hollywood Park by 3 ¾ lengths over the same trip.

Off nearly a year, his next start was last November's Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. Sent off at 9-1, Fast Bullet chased eventual winner and champion Trinniberg before fading late to sixth in the 14-horse field. He rebounded to take another allowance at Hollywood, by 7 1/4 lengths, in his most recent start going 6 ½ furlongs. Fast Bullet has now earned $327,000.

Bred in Kentucky by Roy Gottlieb, Fast Bullet was produced by the Dayjur mare Renfro Valley Star, who's also reared the Grade 3-placed Blairs Roarin Star.

Fast Bullet's second dam was Brave Raj, the champion juvenile filly of 1986. Also among Brave Raj's descendants are Grade 2 winners Eurosilver and Muntej.