Belmont Derby success for Charlie Appleby with Nations Pride

Charlie Appleby’s Nations Pride avenged his defeat by Classic Causeway at Belmont last month by winning the Saratoga Derby in fine style.

A fast-finishing second under Frankie Dettori from a wide draw in the Belmont Derby, this time William Buick was able to sit much closer to the pace from stall four.

The choice of Appleby's three runners in the Derby at Epsom where he could only finish eighth, the drop in trip to an extended nine furlongs appeared to really suit on this occasion.

"We were confident coming into this that Nations Pride had done very well since the Belmont Derby. The team have done a fantastic job and he looks to have come on physically since his last run," Appleby told

"The key was trying to get him to jump quicker from the gates because he was slow into his stride at Belmont. He was a little bit sluggish still but William gave him a great ride - he got down on the fence and thankfully the pace held up on the front end as well. It's great for the team here.

"Nations Pride won at Meydan, so we knew that a nice, slick track suits him. He won on quick going at Newmarket and then he didn't stay on slower ground in the Derby at Epsom Downs.

"It was always our target to come out here with him - he is a good moving son of Teofilo and we were confident that he would adapt to the style of racing."

Aidan O'Brien's Stone Age was fifth while the former Mark and Charlie Johnston-trained Royal Patronage, now with Graham Motion, was sixth.

In the Grade One Whitney Stakes Todd Pletcher's Life Is Good was an easy winner.

Having failed to see out 10 furlongs in the Dubai World Cup, Pletcher dropped him to seven furlongs for his reappearance last month but he was back up to nine furlongs in the Whitney, the distance over which he won the Pegasus World Cup.

Winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile last season, this victory automatically earned him a spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic in November.

"When you feel like you're bringing over the best horse, you worry about everything. Today we got the rain, the deep track, the heat, and humidity. All those things can be concerning, but he was able to overcome all of that and just show how brilliant he really is," Pletcher told

"To me (this race) is the premier older horse race in the country outside of the Breeders' Cup Classic. So, it means a lot."

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