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Night Officer, a half-brother to top sprinter Delaunay, recorded his first stakes win when rallying for a neck victory in Belmont Park’s $85,000 Around the Cape Stakes on Thursday, May 16. Sent off as the 4-1 second choice in the field of seven, the 5-year-old bay horse zipped six furlongs over the inner turf course in 1:07.92.

Trainer Bruce Brown claimed Night Officer for $50,000 at Belmont Park in July 2012 for owner Chalk Racing. It was the only time the colt had been risked for a tag by his breeder, Robert Meyerhoff’s Fitzhugh stable. Since the claim, Night Officer has competed six times, five in stakes.

He earned his first black-type last fall when third behind course record-setting Jazzy Idea and Ben’s Cat in the Laurel Dash Stakes. In his first start of 2013, Night Officer faced Ben’s Cat again, finishing second to the 2012 Maryland-bred Horse of the Year in the Mister Diz Stakes at Pimlico.

Cross-entered in Friday’s Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico (which was won by Ben’s Cat), Brown chose to stay home at Belmont Park. With Jose Lezcano riding for the first time, Night Officer saved ground behind rapid fractions of :21.55 and :44.01 over the firm turf. With three-sixteenths remaining, he dug in, caught the early leaders and then held off the late charge of Hoofit (NZ) for the victory.

The son of Officer now sports a record of 25-6-3-5 and earnings of $254,881. He is the second stakes winner for Perilous Night, who was also bred in Maryland by Meyerhoff and won the 2004 Squan Song Stakes at Pimlico. All five of Perilous Night’s foals are winners, led by Delaunay. A seven-time stakes winner of $803,486, the 6-year-old son of Smoke Glacken ranks among the best sprinters in the nation this year and has won six straight stakes, dating back to September 2012.

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