OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- Buddy's Saint stamped himself as a legitimate contender for next year's Kentucky Derby with a stylish-looking 4 3/4-length victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct.
Peppi Knows rallied to be second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Citrus Kid. He was followed in the order of finish by Fudge Truffle, Homeboykris, and Grand Rapport.
In adding the Remsen to his 12-length score in the Nashua three weeks earlier, Buddy's Saint became just the seventh horse to win both of those graded stakes. Five of the previous six to do so won graded stakes as 3-year-olds, including Pine Bluff, who won the 1992 Preakness, and Bluegrass Cat, who won the Grade 1 Haskell and also finished second in the 2006 Kentucky Derby.
Asked if he felt he had a Derby horse in his barn, Bruce Levine, trainer of Buddy's Saint, said "Yes, I do. Believe me, I wouldn't trade places with anybody in America."
In the Nashua, Buddy's Saint showed good early speed in leading virtually gate to wire. In the Remsen, Buddy's Saint settled into third position early while Citrus Kid set fractions of 24.01 seconds, 48.18, and 1:13.23. Around the turn, Buddy's Saint made a three-wide sweep to the lead, struck the front at the five-sixteenths pole, then came home an easy winner under a busy hand ride from jockey Jose Lezcano. Buddy's Saint, a son of Saint Liam owned by Eli Lomita's Kingfield Stables, covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.95 and returned $3.50 as the favorite.
"I thought he was quite impressive," Levine said. "He's versatile, he doesn't need the lead; he showed it today.
"He's still learning, he's only had three races, and he's a little bit green," Levine added. "I think he'll get better. I don't think you've seen the best yet."
Levine plans to ship Buddy's Saint to south Florida in mid-December and looks to run him at Gulfstream at the end of January. However, he told New York racing officials after the Remsen that he would point the horse to the Wood Memorial next April 3.
Homeboykris, the Champagne winner, pressed the pace under Edgar Prado, but faded in the stretch, beaten 10 lengths.
"Definitely, he was a different horse than the horse I rode at Belmont," Prado said. "Today, he only ran for half a mile. I'm shocked."
Gazelle: Surface switch suits Flashing
Before Saturday, the last time Flashing raced on dirt, she won the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga. After two dismal efforts on synthetic surfaces, Flashing returned to dirt and led gate to wire under Richard Migliore to win the Grade 1, $300,000 Gazelle by 4 1/4 lengths over Unrivaled Belle.
Making a clear lead soon after the start, Flashing set fractions of 24.24 seconds, 48.73, 1:12.90, 1:37.75, and covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.94 while winning by 4 1/4 lengths. She returned $8.50.
Unrivaled Belle, sent off the slight favorite over Stardom Bound, chased Flashing all the way around the track in second, and finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Bon Jovi Girl. Stardom Bound, last year's 2-year-old filly champion, broke slowly but never threatened in making her first start since the Grade 1 Ashland in April 3 and finished fifth.
Flashing, owned by Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum's Godolphin Racing, improved her career record to 6 wins from 10 starts and earnings of $633,226. While initially this was scheduled to be her last race, Flashing may have earned a shot at running again next year.
"We're going to talk it over and maybe she will race next year," trainer Saeed bin Suroor said.
Demoiselle: Tizahit gets dream trip
Tizahit ($7.90), under a patient Prado, took over from pacesetting longshot Oh Diane inside the three-sixteenth pole and easily outfinished Protesting to win the Grade 2, $200,000 Demoiselle by one length. It was 3 3/4 lengths back to Fuzzy Britches in third.
Tizahit sat third early on while Oh Diane set the pace stalked by Fuzzy Britches. At the half-mile pole, Tizahit moved into second, but Prado waited to ask the filly to run until they straightened away in the stretch. Despite drifting out some in the lane, Tizahit was never threatened by Protesting as she covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.09.
Tizahit, a daughter of Tiznow, is owned by Jim and Susan Hill and trained by George Weaver.
* Lentenor, a 2-year-old full brother to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, finished second, beaten one-half length by On Vacation, in his turf debut here Saturday. Lentenor, under Jose Lezcano, bobbled at the break, steadied entering the first turn and again the far turn before rallying, but hanging in the stretch.