Sometimes a rabbit can be a predator.
Tribhuvan was seen as the pacesetter for his three stablemates, and he played his role brilliantly June 11 in the $750,000 Resorts World Casino Manhattan Stakes (G1T) at Belmont Park. The least respected of Chad Brown’s four-horse tag team was sent off at 19-1 odds, meaning most people expected him to fade in the stretch.
After an uninspiring campaign in his native Europe, Tribhuvan spent time at the famed Hidden Brook Florida training center near Ocala Florida. The Manhattan is his second Grade 1 victory since coming to North America.
The 6-year-old French-bred gelding flipped that script and made himself the undisputed star, coasting unchallenged through 1 1/4 miles under Manny Franco. Tribhuvan glided to a 3 1/2-length victory over another Brown runner, Adhamo. Nobody is surprised when Brown runs 1-2 in a 1 1/4-mile grass stakes, but rarely do his winners pay $40.20 and top a $189.50 Brown-Brown exacta.
“Did you bet my horse?” co-owner Michael Dubb said to a friend in the winner’s circle. “I’m not really surprised by this. This horse loves the course, he gets brave on the lead, and he was training lights out.”
Franco nursed Tribhuvan through moderate fractions of :24.78 for a quarter-mile, :49.65 for a half, 1:13.24 for six furlongs, and 1:36.18 for a mile. He had plenty left for the stretch and surged the final furlong in :23.30 for a final time of 1:59.54 on a firm course.
“I knew I was the only speed in the race,” Franco said. “I was really comfortable with the way I was traveling, and I felt great that I didn’t see anybody behind me.”
Gufo, the 2-1 favorite, was a length behind Adhamo. Completing the order of finish were Highland Chief , Brown’s Rockemperor , Santin , Brown’s L’Imperator , In Love , Channel Maker , and Tokyo Gold .
“Manny rode a great race,” Brown said. “At the half-mile pole, I was yelling, ‘Open up! Open up!’ That’s the way to ride this horse. You have to bottom out everybody behind him.”
Tribhuvan ended a three-race losing streak dating to last fall, and his long odds stemmed from a fifth-place flop, beaten 10 lengths, in his 2022 debut May 7 in the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes (G1T).
“The turf at Churchill Downs was wet that week, and certain horses didn’t fire on it,” Brown said. “Tribhuvan got an easy lead and just stopped. He didn’t like it at all.
“He nearly held off a great horse in Domestic Spending in the Manhattan last year. He’d been training well, and we were confident that if he got somewhat loose in this race, at least he would be in the picture late.”
It turned out to be a picture in the winner’s circle.
It was the sixth win in 23 starts for Tribhuvan, a son of Toronado imported from France after the 2019 season. He earned $400,000 in the Manhattan, raising his total to $1,119,954 for Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables, and Michael J. Caruso.
-edited from www.bloodhorse.com