ELMONT, N.Y., SEPT. 26 -- Theatrical, the even-money favorite, took command entering the stretch and drew away to win the $600,000 Turf Classic by 3 3/4 lengths today at Belmont Park.
Theatrical ran second in the early portion of the race before overtaking the pacesetting Allez Milord at the quarter-mile mark. The 5-year-old son of Nureyev withstood a challenge by River Memories, a 3-year-old filly ridden by Angel Cordero in her U.S. debut. Talakeno was third.
The victory was the second major triumph in six days for jockey Pat Day. The two-time Eclipse Award winner won the $750,000 Marlboro Cup last Sunday aboard Java Gold.
Theatrical, trained by Billy Mott, was timed in 2:29 1/5 for the 1 1/2 miles on a soft turf course and paid $4 as the choice of the crowd of 16,145.
Stately Don, a half-brother to just-retired grass champion Manila and the 2-to-1 second choice, was fourth, 18 1/2 lengths back. Glaros and Allez Milord completed the field.
It was the fifth victory in seven starts for Theatrical and the $350,000 first prize boosted his career earnings to $1,692,627.
Despite earlier Grade I victories this year in the Hialeah Turf Cup, Red Smith, Bowling Green and Sword Dancer handicaps, Theatrical is not expected to earn the Eclipse Award for top grass horse of 1987.
That honor likely will go to Manila, who decisively defeated Theatrical in the Arlington Million Sept. 6. Manila was retired to stud after sustaining a fractured cannon bone after a workout Sept. 17 at Belmont.