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The Secretariat statue in the paddock decorated with carnations for the Belmont.

2004 Belmont Undercard Results

Date: 06/05/2004

The Belmont Stakes undercard included six very high-class races, to keep the huge crowd entertained as they waited for the main event. The rain that had been forecast never materialized other than some scattered light sprinkles, making for a lightning fast main track since it had been sealed the night before.


The The biggest race on the afternoon other than the Belmont was the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap, a $400,000 event over 1 1/4 miles on the inner turf course for older horses. 6-1 shot Meteor Storm rallied from eighth early on, circling the field on the far turn and then drawing away to win by 1 1/4 lengths over 12-1 shot Millennium Dragon in second, in a time of 1:59.34 over the firm course. 3-2 favorite Stroll stalked the pace early but tired in the final furlong finishing a disappointing sixth.
Results Chart from Equibase.


Meteor Storm and Jose Valdivia Jr. take their walk down Victory Lane after winning the Manhattan. Winning trainer Wally Dollase said, "I didn't know how good he was. You don't know until you meet Eastern horses after dominating the West Coast horses. I knew they wouldn't beat him on stamina. We would like to get invited to the Melbourne Cup but there are a lot of races between now and then." Jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. added, "When we turned for home he just kicked away hard and clear down the lane."


3-2 favorite Stroll who finished sixth in the post parade. His trainer Bill Mott said, "Maybe it was a stretch to go for a mile and a quarter today. After the other race at Churchill, we thought the distance was okay. But today, he just didn't get the trip. He had a good trip, and he rated well." Jockey Jerry Bailey added, "We had a perfect trip. He relaxed just enough to where he wasn't trying to run off. It was a mild move instead of a punch, and that tells you it's the distance that gets them."



The Grade 2, $200,000 Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup featured three-year-old colts sprinting seven furlongs on the main track. 3-1 second choice Fire Slam raced close to the pace in fifth down the backstretch, then found room inside to get into a stretch duel with 4-1 shot Teton Forest, prevailing by a head in the last strides in 1:20.94 over the fast track. 6-5 favorite Value Plus tired in the stretch and was sixth.
Results Chart from Equibase.


Fire Slam and jockey Pat Day entering the winner's circle. Day said, "I was really in the dream spot. I had to take [the opening along the rail] when it came. He has a strong 3/16 of a mile run and when he makes the lead he tends to wait just a little bit which is why it was so close today."


Beaten favorite Value Plus looked great in the post parade but stank in the race. Jockey John Velazquez said, "We should have been up on the lead, but I just couldn't get him up there. I tried, but he just wouldn't go and I couldn't get him up. He showed up flat."



The Grade 2 Just a Game Breeders' Cup was for older fillies and mares at a mile on the Widener turf course for $250,000. 4-5 favorite Intercontinental lived up to expectation, rallying from seventh early on to get the lead inside the 1/16 pole and drew away to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:33.33 over 25-1 longshot Vanguardia. It was just a half length back to the winner's entry mate, Etoile Montante, in third.
Results Chart from Equibase.


Intercontinental and trainer Bobby Frankel in the winner's circle. Frankel said, "She is an unbelievably bred filly. When I started training her, she acted real nice. In the morning she is quiet and relaxed. In the afternoon she gets it on." She will likely make her next start in the Diana Handicap at Saratoga.



The Grade 2 True North Breeders' Cup is a $200,000 six furlong sprint on the main track for older horses. 9-5 favorite Speightstown satisfied his backers with a front-running victory in 1:08.04 by 1 1/2 lengths over 8-1 shot Cat Genius. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to 5-2 second choice Pohave in third. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "The thing that impressed me most was that he broke so sharp and made multiple moves in a sprint. This was arguably his best race."
Results Chart from Equibase.


Speightstown and jockey John Velazquez head for the winner's circle. Velazquez said, "He's a nice horse. He kept going forward. The other horses tried to reach him and all I had to do was keep him running. The only other thing I had to do was steer him clear of traffic and let him run his race. He was awesome."



The Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap featured older fillies and mares sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track for a $150,000 purse. 3-4 favorite Bear Fan demolished the competition, sprinting 2 1/2 lengths clear after the first quarter in 21.93 and then drawing away to the wire, finishing 9 lengths ahad of 6-1 third choice Smok'n Frolic in a new track record time of 1:14.46.
Results Chart from Equibase.


Bear Fan and John Velazquez return after winning. Trainer Wesley Ward said, "Her last work was just explosive. She has been just jumping out of her skin since then. She has shown immense talent and she's a real pleasure to be around." John Velazquez added, "She wanted to run as soon as the gate opened and she's not the type of horse you can hold back."



Kicking off the stakes action on Saturday was the $70,000 White Carnation Stakes for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. 14-1 shot Board Elligible stubled at the start but recovered well to rally on the turn to draw clear by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:42.08 over 6-1 shot Princess Dixie. 2-1 favorite Saintly Action was third.

Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "She likes to come from behind with just one move. I thought I moved too early but I had to do it. As soon as (Saintly Action) checked, my horse took off past him and we won the race."
Results Chart from Equibase.

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