Ore Pass broke sharply, sat off the dueling leaders, then went on the attack and charged by to win Saturday's feature at Laurel Park, the $125,000 Frank Whiteley Jr. Stakes for 3-year-olds.
Julian Pimentel was at the reins of the horse trained by Mike Trombetta, who completed the seven-furlong distance in 1 minute, 24.78 seconds, a length and a half ahead of Alpha Mike Foxtrot, with Lunar Rock finishing a distant third. Ore Pass paid $5.80 as the betting favorite.
"I was kind of glad Mike told me just to stay behind the two horses," Pimentel said. "When it was time to go, just do it. He was kind of getting bored out there by himself, he was waiting a little bit. That was more like him."
The War Pass colt was an impressive debut winner at Laurel on Nov. 24, then disappointed at Parx Racing as the 3-5 favorite in an allowance test earlier this month.
"I really don't know what happened up there at Philly [Parx Racing]. It was just a horrible experience," Trombetta said. "We still don't have a real good explanation for why he didn't do so well a couple of weeks ago."
Trombetta, who conditioned 2006 Preakness Stakes runner-up Sweetnorthernsaint, indicated that Ore Pass could run next in the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel on Feb. 9.
"This was a great step back in the right direction," Trombetta said.
Morning-line favorites Heat Press and Hanky Doodle were scratched by trainer Graham Motion. Both will run in a $40,000 allowance race at one mile at Laurel on Thursday.
Big day for McMahon
Trainer Hugh McMahon produced a natural hat trick Saturday by saddling winners in three consecutive races at Laurel, visiting the winners' circle with Espiritu Libre ($2.60-second race), Speeding Spike ($3.20-third) and Bullette ($3.80-fourth).
In the first 11 days of the winter meet, McMahon has 10 victories and 20 in-the-money finishes after 22 starts.
"That is an amazing stat," said McMahon, who finished third in the 2012 Maryland trainer standings, with 49 scores. "They all work, they all want to win, but ultimately God decides who wins. When I was a jockey, Allen Jerkens came into the paddock and said it is all about picking up a check, which keeps the owners involved and pays the bill. I try to put the horses in spots where they can be competitive."