Bet down to 3-5 in the field of six 3-year-olds, Requite did not win as easily as his odds may have predicated, but trainer George Weaver was happy to see his charge respond well to a stretch battle.
“It was good. He was a strong choice to win, and he did,” Weaver said. “He did not draw away from the field. The one (Grand Bili) hung in there well during the last parts of the race, but I like to see that. It kind of gives us a measuring stick. The one is probably a nice horse, and if your horse wins easy all the time, you never get to the bottom of them and test them. I thought he responded well to the battle.”
Requite received a clean, stalking trip in the seven-furlong Big Cypress, as the colt was positioned in third early while front-runners Grand Bili and Sing Praises set the tempo, clocking in at :23.11 seconds for the first quarter and :45.27 seconds for the half. Nearing the 5/16-pole, jockey Eddie Castro began to ask Requite for run, and the striking bay responded, immediately closing the open-length gap between him and the leaders. At the top of the stretch, Sing Praises, returning from a seven-month layoff, gave way, but Grand Bili had something left in the reserves. Requite collared that rival while three-wide, and it seemed as if he would draw off, but Grand Bili re-rallied and began to close back in on the lead. The two sophomores dueled to the wire, but once Requite claimed the advantage, he never relinquished it. He crossed the wire a ½-length in front; the winning time was 1:22.91.
“I thought he handled the seven-eighths well,” Weaver said. “We’re going to take him up north now, and we’ll see what comes up for him.”
“He’s classy. He’s not a need-to-lead type,” he added.
Requite was making just his second start back from an eight-month layoff. After breaking his maiden in dynamic fashion over the highly regarded Two Weeks Off at Saratoga last August, the son of Warrior’s Reward stepped right up to graded stakes competition for his second start but finished fourth in the Hopeful. The colt would not race again until the following spring, when he made his 3-year-old debut in a 6-furlong allowance at Gulfstream on May 9, his last start, which he won easily by 3 ½ lengths.
After watching Requite handle a return to stakes competition and a stretch out to 7-furlongs for just the second time in his career, Weaver said he will likely keep his trainee running at short-to-middle distanced sprints.
“He’s out of a Carson City mare, and we’re not 100 percent sure just how far he wants to go, and that’s why today going seven-eighths, I thought we got a feel a little bit,” Weaver said. “I think just watching the race, just my first reaction, I probably would stick to six or seven [furlongs]. I’m not looking to go a mile or two turns at this moment. The horse is very fast, so we’ll try to concentrate on six or seven furlongs spots, as long as the owners are okay with it.”
Requite returned $3.40 to win, while Grand Bili, who went off at odds of 7-2, returned the same $3.40 to place. Jacks or Better Farm’s Southern Barbecue got up for third and returned $4.40 to show.
Bandages, Sing Praises and Big Awesome completed the order of finish.