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Flintshire takes his walk down Victory Lane led by Juddmonte farm manager Garrett O'Rourke (right) after winning the Manhattan
Of the three Triple Crown races, the undercard of the Belmont Stakes has the most prestigious races on its undercard. This year, the 60,114 fans in attendance at "Big Sandy" on Long Island were also treated to 9 stakes (8 graded) which preceded the main event including five Grade 1 events. Conditions were excellent with mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 80's, with the main track rated fast and the two turf courses rated firm.
Flintshire leads down the stretch
13-1 World Approval was quickest away through opening fractions of 23.81, 49.77, 1:13.90, and 1:37.09 while pressed by 30-1 Grand Tito and stalked by 10-1 Divisidero. World Approval led to mid-stretch but Flintshire, 5th early, came out 4 wide for room and rallied past the pacesetters to win going away by 1 3/4 lengths over Ironicus in 1:58.92. It was another 1/2 length back to World Approval third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 10 Flintshire Castellano 3.40 2.80 2.50 6 Ironicus Ortiz 4.80 4.00 1 World Approval Leparoux 5.50 Winning Time: 1:58.92 $2 Exacta 10-6 18.20 $2 Trifecta 10-6-1 109.00 $2 Superfecta 10-6-1-9 874.00
Left: Flintshire in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, He showed the ability to cut back to a mile and a quarter with a good turn of foot today. He has an indescribable amount of class. He's so intelligent. He picks things up at light speed, oozes class, and is a privilege to work with every day. Obviously, the goal is to take down (Breeders' Cup Turf) at the end of the year." Jockey Javier Castellano added, "I had so much confidence with the horse after watching all the replays. He's a phenomenal, spectacular horse. He's very straightforward with his approach. He can (compete) with the best horses in the country.”
Right: Second place finisher Ironicus in the post parade. Jockey Jose Ortiz said, "I was in a perfect spot early on. Then, at the 3/8 pole Javier was outside me and I tried to move out, but he wasn't letting me in. I took a chance going inside but I didn't have much room. If I was in a better position, I think I might have won."
The $1.25 million Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap (G1) featured a field of 10 older horses going 1 mile around 1 turn of the main track. Dubai World Cup (G1) fifth place finisher Frosted was sent off as the 2-1 favorite over 4-1 Calculator, second in the Churchill Downs (G2) and 11-2 Stanford, winner of the Charles Town Classic (G2).
8-1 Noble Bird was quickest away through fractions of 22.78 and 45.35 pressed by 13-1 Marking and 12-1 Anchor Down. On the turn Anchor Down gained the front through 3/4 in 1:09.36, but Frosted, 5th early, came out for room and blew right by the leaders, opening up by 6 at the 1/8 pole and drawing off to win by 14 1/4 lengths in 1:32.73, just 49/100 second off the track record. It was another length back to 9-1 Upstart third.
Full results chart
Left: Frosted gets hosed down after leaving the winner's circle. At this point in the card the cloud cover was gone and the temperature climbed to 81 degrees. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, "It was unbelievable. It was a wild, wild race. He has been doing great all the time and you say that every time that they are doing great, but for him to beat that great of horses like that is pretty incredible. We'll worry about [the Breeders' Cup] later. It might be the Classic instead of the Mile. We'll wait and see. He is very talented and it was a great win for the entire team."
Right: Second place finisher Anchor Down crosses the finish line beaten 14 1/4 lengths. Jockey Jose Ortiz said, "Frosted is a really nice horse. My horse is doing really well right now. He ran really big last time but it wasn't the quality of this field. Today he proved himself against better horses and he ran big."
A field of 13 older fillies and mares went 1 mile on the Widener turf course in the $700,000 Longines Just a Game Stakes (G1). Plenty of Grace Stakes winner Mrs McDougal was the 7-2 favorite over 4-1 Recepta, 3rd in the Beaugay (G3), and 7-1 Faufiler, second in the Royal Heroine (G2).
44-1 La Berma set early fractions of 23.36, 46.13, and 1:19.06 while pressed by 15-2 fourth choice Celestine and stalked by 18-1 Lexie Lou. Turning for home Celestine, 3 wide, quickly took over the lead from the tiring La Berma. Kept to task by Junior Alvarado she drew clear to win by 3 3/4 lengths over late-running Recepta in 1:31.64, just 1/100 second off Elusive Quality's 1998 course record. It was another length back to favorite Mrs McDougal third.
Full results chart
Left: Celestine in the winner's circle. Trainer Bill Mott said, "This was a very impressive. She's [Celestine] gotten better as time goes on. She just drew away from a very good field. She's pretty fast. She tracked that filly today. She's rating well. She was very comfortable where she was in the race. We were 1/100 second slower than the course record of Elusive Quality, who I also trained. That was a world record at the time. (Tepin and Miss Temple City) might be lucky they were over there (at Royal Ascot) today."
Right: Second place finisher Recepta and jockey John Velazquez return after the race. The James Toner trainee improved her record to 5 wins, 2 seconds, and 4 thirds in 16 starts, earning $596,700 for owners Phillips Racing Partnership and Pam Gartin.
The $1 million Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) featuring a field of 7 older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles around 1 turn of the main track. La Troienne (G1) winner Curalina was the 2-1 favorite over 3-1 second choice Stopchargingmaria, winner of the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1), and 7-2 third choice Forever Unbridled, winner of the Apple Blossom (G1).
58-1 longest shot Desert Valley was quickest away through fractions of 23.37, 46.20, and 1:10.23 while pressed by Stopchargingmaria and stalked by Curalina. At the top of the lane Desert Valley dropped back to last while 4-1 fourth choice Cavorting, 6th early, came out 5 wide to circle the field, gaining the lead at the 1/8 pole through 1 mile in 1:34.02. Kept to task by Florent Geroux she drew off to win by 2 1/2 lengths over late-running Forever Unbridled in 1:40.14. It was another 1/2 length back to 10-1 Carrumba third, while favorite Curalina was fourth.
Full results chart
Left: Cavorting wanted no part of the flower blanket and tossed them and jockey Florent Geroux to the ground. Geroux said, "She broke well and I was able to relax her at the back of the pack. She didn't have a lot left in the stretch. Sometimes she can be a little tricky. She can be aggressive in a race. The question was the distance."
Right: She was much better behaved as owner Barbara Banke led her down Victory Lane after the race. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, "Her pedigree indicated that she wanted to go further. Being by Bernardini, her third start we tried the Frizette, but it was a funny racetrack that day a little wet. The jockey did a great job. One turn is great and we're real happy to win the Phipps two years in a row. Sorry Dinny (Phipps) isn't here with us but it was a great win."
The first graded stakes on Saturday was the $700,000 Acorn Stakes (G1) featuring top 3-year-old fillies going 1 mile on the main track. Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Cathryn Sophia was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the field of 6 over 2-1 second choice Carina Mia, winner of the Eight Belles (G3) and 9-2 third choice Go Maggie Go, winner of the Black-Eyed Susan (G2).
36-1 Paola Queen dueled with Cathryn Sophia through fractions of 23.05 and 46.17 while stalked by Go Maggie Go. On the far turn Cathryn Sophia gained the front through 3/4 in 1:10.23, but Carina Mia, last early, came out 4 wide for room to gain the front at the 3/16 pole. Carina Mia drew off to win by 1 1/4 lengths over late-running 9-1 Off the Tracks in 1:34.97. It was another length back to favorite Cathryn Sophia third.
Full results chart
Left: Carina Mia in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "We thought there was speed in there. It actually turned out to be a little bit more than what we thought. Certainly Cathryn Sophia, it looked like they wanted to send her into the race a little bit. Her first race came off a five-month layoff and things hadn't gone just right. She probably needed the race to get back in gear, I suppose. It is nice to get her a Grade 1 win." Jockey Julien Leparoux added, "I thought I was going to be behind Cathryn Sophia and Go Maggie Go. But I saw them go away from there so I decided to just sit off of them. I felt confident at the top of the stretch. I came around everyone and she kicked on at the end."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Cathryn Sophia returns after the race. Jockey Javier Castellano said, "I had a good trip. I don't know why she didn't finish today but we'll figure it out. Maybe today just wasn't her day."
The $500,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) featured 12 three-year-olds sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. Pat Day Mile (G3) winner Sharp Azteca was sent off as the 3-1 favorite over 4-1 Justin Squared, winner of the Chick Lang, and 6-1 Counterforce, winner of the Bachelor Stakes.
Justin Squared led the field down the backstretch through fractions of 21.7 and 44.40 while pressed by 25-1 Fish Trappe Road and stalked by Sharp Azteca. On the turn Justin Squared tired allowing Fish Trappe Road to gain the lead through 3/4 in 1:08.84. However, 15-2 Tom's Ready, last for the first 5f, found room between horses and powered through to win by 1 1/4 length in 1:21.38. It was another 3/4 length back to 16-1 Star Hill third, and 1/2 a length more to favorite Sharp Azteca fourth.
Full results chart
Left: Tom's Ready in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Dallas Stewart said, "I thought he's be laying fourth or fifth and make that punch, but obviously he likes this one-turn stuff, laying back and moving strong like this. I think we'll keep him at one turn. He won't run a lot more. He's run hard all year. I'm going to freshen him up and point him to maybe the King's Bishop at Saratoga and then the Breeders' Cup Sprint."
Right: Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Sharp Azteca returns after the race with jockey Joe Bravo. The Jorge Navarro trainee has a record of 3 wins, 1 second, and 0 thirds in 6 starts, earning $226,250 for owner Ivan Rodriguez.
A field of 13 older horses contested the $300,000 Jaipur Invitational Stakes (G3) at 6 furlongs on the Widener turf. Elusive Quality winner A Lot was sent off as the 7-2 favorite over 5-1 Ready for Rye, second in the Commonwealth (G3), and 11-2 Mosler third in the Elusive Quality.
Jockey Jose Ortiz sent 18-1 Pure Sensation to the front through fractions of 21.64 and 44.06 while pressed by 9-1 Rocket Heat and stalked by 43-1 Hothersal. Entering the stretch Pure Sensation continued to lead through 5/8 in 55.32. 16-1 Disco Partner, last early, put in a strong rally down the center of the course but Pure Sensation held him off to win by a neck in a new course record time of 1:06.76. It was another length back to Ready for Rye third.
Full results chart
Left: Pure Sensation in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Christophe Clement said, "When this horse is right, he's a top class horse and he proved it today. He's not an easy horse to keep right all the time because he's not the soundest horse. When he's training well, he runs well." Jockey Jose Ortiz added, "Christophe had him 110% ready to go today. When the gates opened he broke good and he wanted to go to the front. When we got the lead and he was going good, I looked around and nobody was coming after us. I had a lot of horse so I let him run and he ran great."
Right: Second place finisher Disco Partner comes out for the post parade under jockey Junior Alvarado. The Jim Ryerson trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds in 12 starts, earning $294,510 for owner-breeder Patricia Generazio.
The $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational Stakes (G2) featured a field of 10 older horses going the Belmont Stakes trip of 1 1/2 miles on the main track. Excelsior (G3) winner Kid Cruz was the 8-5 favorite over 7-2 Shaman Ghost, last year's Queen's Plate winner, and 5-1 Samraat, 6th in the Westchester (G3).
59-1 longest shot Waymond Boyd was quickest away through fractions of 24.41, 49.67, 1:15.09, and 1:39.42 while pressed by 14-1 Doyouknowsomething and stalked by 8-1 Securitiz. Entering the lane, Waymond Boyd tired as Doyouknowsomething inherited the lead through 10f in 2:04.01. Shaman Ghost, 4th early, came through between horses and then kicked clear late to win by 4 1/4 lengths over 19-2 Turco Bravo in 2:28.40. It was a length back to 16-1 Elnaawi third, while favorite Kid Cruz checked in 7th.
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Left: Shaman Ghost in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Jimmy Jerkens said, "When I saw him settle right down after the first 1/8, I thought we were in business. In all his races, it looked like he was gaining at the end. I thought, especially after having the 1 1/4 race (Queen's Plate) under his belt, I thought we'd take a shot." Jockey Joel Rosario added, "He came into this from a shorter distance race so I just let him relax and do what he wanted. He was very comfortable and relaxed. He was there for me the whole time during the race. Very easy to manage. When I wanted him to move on he has more and finished strong."
Right: Seventh place finisher and beaten favorite Kid Cruz with jockey Jose Ortiz returns after the race. The Linda Rice trainee has a record of 7 wins, 5 seconds, and 2 thirds in 20 starts, earning $784,025 for owners Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds and Black Swan Stable.
The very first race on Belmont day, sent off at 11:35am, was the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles around one turn of the main track. Cupid was the 9-10 favorite in the field of 5 over 2-1 Rally Cry and 4-1 Economic Model. 8-1 Hit It Once More dueled for the lead out of the chute with Cupid through fractions of 23.75, 46.05, and 1:09.78 while stalked by Rally Cry. Entering the lane, Cupid tired badly as Rally Cry inherited the lead through 1 mile in 1:34.00. However, Economic Model, 4th early, came through between horses and outfinished 14-1 Race Me Home to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:40.08. It was another 3/4 length back to Rally Cry third, while favorite Cupid checked in last.
Full results chart
Economic Model in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "He made the lead there and he got a little green near the wire, he started to drift from the stick. He has a few things to figure out, but we couldn't be more pleased with his performance today. With Cupid not breaking and rushing and a lot of developments up front, that is what we hoped for, a solid pace. I was surprised that Irad chose the inside route, I thought he would get stopped as I saw the race developing, but fortunately it opened up and he got through. He had plenty of horse the whole well. We're going to take a shot in one of those good races going 1 1/8, more than likely, the Jim Dandy or Haskell are likely."
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