Local trainer Uriah St.Lewis has a long history of placing horses in races where most “experts” would consider they had no chance. Last fall at Belmont Park, he shocked everyone when Discreet Lover, at 45-1, won the prestigious G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and earned a trip to the Breeders Cup. His legacy grew yet again at Parx on Saturday afternoon as he pulled off yet another improbable victory. Adventist, a 50-1 long shot, rallied past two heavy favorites with a little more than a sixteenth of a mile to go in the mile and a half, $200,000 G3 Greenwood Cup, and then drew away from them to win by a thoroughly convincing three widening lengths.
On paper, the Greenwood Cup looked to be strictly a two horse race. Marconi (3-5), a Grade 2 winner in New York back in June and War Story (6-5), a recent Grade 3 winner at Monmouth Park looked to absolutely be the class of the field. By comparison, Adventist had never competed in graded company and his most recent win came in a local starter allowance race at the end of July. His odds in some of his starts this year, against much lesser company than the likes of Marconi and War Story were 36-1, 44-1, 59-1 and 74-1. But, of course, races are not, and never have been, run on paper.
As racing luck would have it, neither of the two favorites got particularly good trips. Marconi, who won the G2 Brooklyn Invitational on the front end, broke awkwardly in the field of six and was last coming out of the gate. War Story, sitting just outside the early leader, never had a much of a chance to relax and never saw the inside of the racetrack.
While the others battled it out on the front end, winning jockey John Bisono was fully content to play the waiting game. Heading to the far turn for the first of two trips there, he quickly guided Adventist to the rail, saved every inch of ground, and allowed his mount to settle into a nice, comfortable gallop. After the opening half mile in 50.07, Adventist was still on the inside of the track and about 7 lengths behind. And there he stayed. Heading into the final three furlongs, the race everyone expected took shape, Marconi side by side with War Story, those two ready to settle the issue coming down the lane. But Bisono had other ideas. Still 7 lengths back with three-eighths to go, he asked the long since forgotten Adventist to start to quicken. As the two leaders were head to head, Adventist was now gaining. With a quarter mile to go, he’d moved within four lengths and now Bisono angled him to the middle of the track for the stretch run. Finding his best stride, he easily surged past Marconi and War Story in mid-stretch, almost like they were standing still, and rolled home a full three amazing lengths in front.
Owned by Blue Max and off at 50-1, Adventist returned his backers a win price of $103.00, covering the mile and a half on a fast track in 2:33.4.