Coming into Saturday’s $100,000 Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes for two year-old state-bred colts and geldings, on paper, it appeared that Call Paul held a major class advantage over his seven rivals. Already a Grade 2 winner at Saratoga this summer, winning the Saratoga Special in August, and then a solid third in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont six weeks later, the son of Friesan Fire had that class on full display as he pulled away in the stretch to win the Nursery by a convincing five lengths.
Breaking from the outside gate, Call Paul was up with the front runners throughout. Coming out of the long seven furlong chute at Parx, he was part of a four way battle for the early lead and while the others looked to be working hard on the inside of him, Call Paul looked to be moving comfortably on the far outside, just waiting for his jockey Trevor McCarthy to give him the cue to go. By the time they hit the half mile pole, the four way battle was down to three, with Call Paul’s main rival, second betting choice Splicethemainbrace still right in the mix while running between horses. Around the far turn, after a half in 46.29, McCarthy stayed patient. Call Paul still in the clear on the outside, still with the leaders, and still not extending himself to stay there.
He finally got the nudge to go approaching the head of the stretch. Coming off the turn in the middle of the race track, Call Paul quickly surged past Splicethemainbrace and took command. At the eighth pole he was already two and a half lengths in front, and the others were all now battling for the secondary awards. Call Paul continued to increase his lead all the way to the end and flashed under the line a solid five lengths in front.
Owned by a group consisting of Michael Dubb, David Simon, Bethlehem Stables, and Bruce Irom, Call Paul, trained by Jason Servis, was the overwhelming choice of the public, going off at 1-5 and returning $2.40, 2.20 and 2.10. Jump for Alex (39-1), one of many big prices because of the heavy favorite, sat behind the leaders most of the way and then gamely rallied through the stretch to get up for second and paid 9.20 and 3.40. Splicethemainbrace (7-2) was under pressure for almost the entire trip, finally weakened late and ran third, returning 2.20 to show. The final time for the seven-eighths over a track labeled fast was 1:25.73.