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2023 Belmont Stakes Festival Friday

Marketsegmentation takes her walk down Victory Lane after the New York Stakes (G1)
  • Belmont Stakes
  • Undercard Stakes
  • Friday Belmont Festival
  • Wednesday Belmont Works
  • Saturday Belmont Works
  • Date: 06/09/2023

    The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival runs from Thursday to Saturday, highlighted by the 155th Belmont Stakes run on Saturday. After Thursday's card was cancelled due to poor air quality, Friday afternoon's card included 5 graded stakes, contested under cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 70's, main track fast and both turf courses firm.

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    The $600,000 New York Stakes (G1) featured a field of 7 older fillies and mares going 1 1/4 miles on the inner turf. Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) third place finisher and Bewitch (G3) winner War Like Goddess was sent off as the 3-4 favorite over 9-2 second choice Didia, winner of the Modesty (G3), and 6-1 third choice Marketsegmentation, winner of the Beaugay (G3).

    Jockey Jose Ortiz sent Marketsegmentation to the lead first time by through fractions of 24.56, 50.26, 1:15.29, and 1:38.97 while pressed by 12-1 Shantisara and stalkesd by Didia. Into the stretch Marketsegmentation opened up a 2 1/2 length lead over the tiring Shantisara. Didia gained late but Marketsegmentation held her off to win by 3/4 length in 2:02.12. It was another 1 3/4 length back to 15-2 fourth choice McKulick, while favorite War Like Goddess trailed early but failed to rally finishing 6th beaten 2 3/4 lengths.

    Results Chart

    horse racinghorse racingLeft: Marketsegmentation in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "She was impressive today. Jose rode an excellent race. She's been training super. With this particular race after her last win, we nominated her and kept her eligible depending on the pace of the race. I felt getting her out to a mile and a quarter she'd be very forward, most likely on the lead, so she was a last-minute entry. We put her in here and it was Jose's first time on her, but he rode her like he's always ridden her her whole life. He got along with her beautifully and carved out the fractions just right."

    Right: Marketsegmentation returns after the race. Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, "She always shows speed and there was no pace in the race on paper. I knew everybody was going to be afraid that we [owner Klaravich Stables] have two horses [Marketsegmentation and McKulick], so I went out there took the lead and took command of the race early. She relaxed very well, she set some slow fractions in the half and down the backside, I felt very comfortable." 

    horse racinghorse racingLeft: Marketsegmentation in the paddock. Brown added, "She has gotten better every single race and you love to see horses like that. You have to think about the Diana next. I think a cut [back] to a mile and an eighth wouldn't bother her at all. She's got a big grizzly bear to run against [stablemate In Italian]. But I'm not afraid to run multiple horses like this and let them settle it on the track."

    Right: Second place finisher Didia exits the paddock. Trainer Ignacio Correas said, "She ran great. I can't take nothing away from that. There was no pace and you can't do everything, you have to run your horses. You cannot ride the other horses. She ran great and I think she showed she belongs with this bunch of fillies. The year is long and we are going to look for more somewhere. I think we will leave the Diana to In Italian. I'm trying to develop a good filly, not destroy one. My goal for the summer is the Beverly D. and after that we'll figure it out." Jockey Vincent Cheminaud added, "My filly ran very well. The winner was in front and was very relaxed. We had a good travel, too. The winner was the best today, but my filly finished very well. I finished second and obviously I prefer to win, but I'm very happy."

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    Third place finisher McKulick heads out of the paddock. Trainer Chad Brown said, "MuKulick got up for third and seems to have taken a step forward after a dismal Churchill race, where I think she hated the turf. If she comes out of this sound, based on the way she went into the race, I see her having a very nice second half of the year. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. added, "I was in a perfect spot. Maybe a little more pace would help, but that's racing. She kept trying all the way to the wire." 

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    The $500,000 Acorn Stakes (G1) Presented by Great Jones Distilling Co. featured a field of 8 three-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Eight Belles (G2) runner-up Munnys Gold was sent off as the 8-5 favorite over 9-5 second choice Pretty Mischievous, winner of the Kentucky Oaks (G1), and 5-1 third choice Accede, third in the Eight Belles.

    Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. sent Munnys Gold to the front exiting the chute through fractions of 23.34, 46.37. and 1:10.86 while pressed by 17-1 Goodgirl Badhabits and stalked by 11-1 Dorth Vader. Into the lane Munnys Gold tired as Pretty Mischievous, 6th early under Tyler Gaffalione, swept to the front 5 wide through 1 mile in 1:36.49. Dorth Vader fought on late but Pretty Mischievous held her off to win by a head in 1:43.33. It was a long 4 lengths back to 27-1 Occult third, and another 1/2 length back to favorite Munnys Gold fourth.

    Results Chart

    horse racinghorse racingLeft: Pretty Mischievous in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Brendan Walsh said, "What's funny is that in the blink of an eyelid, when [Munnys Gold] kind of backed up, she was in front [and] I was worried because she will idle a little bit, like she did in the [Kentucky] Oaks and she did it again today. She's just a great filly. It's unbelievable and such an honor to have her for the people we have her [for]. I think she'll get better and better as the year goes on. She's still got a bit of furnishing to do. We still have a little ways to go." 

    Right: Pretty Mischievous heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, "I'm just so proud of her. She's really developed into an amazing filly. She seems to just be getting bigger and stronger with each race. I can't wait for the day she finishes out one of her races. She gets to the lead and she kind of waits. She just has so much talent. I don't think we've seen the best of her yet. Honestly, if I would have used her I could have been right there, maybe even fighting for the lead. She'll do anything you ask her to.

    horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Dorth Vader in the paddock before the race. Jockey John Velazquez said, "She fought hard. I think she got a little bit surprised by the horse outside of her [Pretty Mischievous]. But she put in a really good fight. She's got a lot of heart and she showed that today all the way to the wire."

    Right: Third place finisher Occult returns after the race. The Chad Brown trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 0 seconds, and 1 third in 5 starts, earning $177,450 for owner Alpha Delta Stables.

    horse racing
    The $250,000 Belmont Gold Cup Stakes (G2) featured a field of 13 older horses going 2 miles around 3 turns of the Widener turf course. Dubai Gold Cup (G2) runner-up and Yorkshire Cup (G2) fifth place finisher Siskany was sent off as the 4-5 favorite over 9-2 second choice Amazing Grace, 4th in the Sheepshead Bay (G2) after winning the Orchid (G3) and 13-2 third choice The Grey Wizard, fifth in the San Marcos (G3) before winning an allowance last out.

    Jockey Katie Davis sent 56-1 Tide of the Sea to lead through fractions of 51.11, 1:45.48, 2:11.26, 2:35.70, and 2:59.90 while pressed by 11-1 Channel Maker and stalked by 22-1 Strong Tide and 26-1 Cross Border. Turning for home for the last time, Tide of the Sea tired as Siskany, 5th early under William Buick, came through to gain the lead at the 3/16. Kept to task by Buick, Siskany drew off late to win by 2 lengths over late-running The Grey Wizard in 3:23.94. It was another neck back to 59-1 British Royalty third.

    Results Chart

    horse racinghorse racingLeft: Siskany heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Charlie Appleby said, "Delighted with him. He's a good [1 3/4 mile] horse [in the U.K.], two-miler [in the U.S.A.]. He's done that well today. Unfortunately, there's nothing left for him there on the other side of the water, so we will likely bring him back here and then look to Dubai again and hopefully work our way back from a Belmont Gold Cup, again." Assistant trainer Chris Connett added, "There wasn't a whole lot of pace in the race there, but William [Buick] gave him a lovely ride. One thing we know about this horse is for a horse that stays, he's got a turn of foot and he showed that there. It was a very nice run. He'll ship home on Tuesday and the team will make a plan from there."

    Right: Siskany in the paddock before the race. Winning jockey William Buick said, "To be able to come over here and get these rides and opportunities is a real privilege. There are a lot of good riders here who could ride these horses, so I'm very happy I get the call to ride when they come over, especially because we are in the middle of a European season, as well. I thought getting him into the clear was a sensible thing to do. He was the best horse in the race and it was an opportunity that arose. Channel Maker took me into the race and to get on the back of him was an obvious move at that point. And he finished up so well. He was narrowly beaten in the Dubai Gold Cup in a similar race, so it was great to get the win today. This is his first time winning over two miles."

    horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher The Grey Wizard heads out of the paddock before the race. Trainer Graham Motion said, "He ran super. I was very pleased with his race. This was a big step up from his last race, absolutely. It was a good effort. He's very honest this horse. He hasn't done much wrong. I was very pleased with him. The winner is legit. But where do we run now? It's possible we may run him at Saratoga, maybe the John's Call or one of the mile-and-a-half races, definitely."

    Right: Third place finisher British Royalty heads out of the paddock. Jockey Kazushi Kimura said, "This horse likes the distance, similar to the European horses. When I trained on him in the morning, I could tell he was one that would handle the two miles and keep going. He really likes Belmont and he definitely handled it well."

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    Kicking off the stakes quintet was the $500,000 Just a Game Stakes (G1) featuring a short field of 5 older fillies and mares going 1 mile on the Widener turf. Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) runner-up and Jenny Wiley (G1) winner In Italian was the 2-5 favorite over 4-1 second choice Spendarella, second in the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) and 12-1 Wakanaka, fourth in the Distaff Turf Mile.

    Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. sent In Italian to the lead exiting the chute through fractions of 24.47, 47.95, and 1:11.12 while pressed by Spendarella and stalked by 22-1 longest shot New Year's Eve. Turning for home In Italian opened up a 2 1/2 length lead through 7f in 1:22.27, and extended her advantage late to win by 3 3/4 lengths over Spendarella in 1:34.00. It was another length back to Wakanaka third.

    Results Chart

    horse racinghorse racingLeft: In Italian in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "She got a nice, easy quarter and then she was off the rail and in control. I think that was the end of it there. In the post parade, Mr. [owner Peter] Brant and I were speaking and he mentioned how good that she breaks. Of course, she broke well again. The plan was if she could break well, to get out in front and off the rail so the horses behind her had to make a decision to either challenge a very fast horse pretty wide or you're going to go up inside of her, which is not a great option either. I think Irad executed that well."

    Right: In Italian takes her walk down Victory Lane. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said,  "She's really nice. I was a good passenger. She did all the work. I feel like she was a little sharper today than last start and she just came out of there like a shot. I took her off the rail to keep her relaxed. I tried to sit on her and not move. She did [relax] and I let her do her thing close to the quarter-pole and she did the rest."

    horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Spendarella in the post parade. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, "It was a big effort. She stumbled coming away from there and was behind the eight-ball a little bit. She gathered herself nicely and traveled good. She kicked nicely and fought to keep second when the fillies came to her. It just wasn't her day today."

    Right: Third place finisher Wakanaka in the post parade. The Bill Mott trainee improved her record to 8 wins 4 seconds, and 2 thirds in 18 starts, earning $746,813 for owners Team Valor International and Gary Barber.

    horse racing
    Closing out the Friday stakes action was the $200,000 Intercontinental Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares sprinting 6 furlongs on the inner turf. Unbridled Sidney Stakes runner-up Bay Storm was sent off as the 9-4 favorite in the field of 8 over 11-4 second choice Bubble Rock, winner of the License Fee Stakes, and 3-1 third choice Amy C, winner of the Las Cienegas (G3).

    Jockey Joel Rosario sent Bubble Rock to lead through fractions of 22.29 and 45.61 while pressed by Bay Storm and stalked by 16-1 Goin' Good. Bubble Rock continued to lead through 5f in 56.98 but 13-2 fourth choice Poppy Flower, sixth early under Jose Ortiz, came out 5 wide for room and rallied to win by a nose in 1:08.53. It was another 3/4 length back to Amy C third, and a neck back to favorite Bay Storm fourth.

    Results Chart

    horse racinghorse racingLeft: Poppy Flower in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "It was a big effort. She stumbled coming away from there and was behind the eight-ball a little bit. She gathered herself nicely and traveled good. She kicked nicely and fought to keep second when the fillies came to her. It just wasn't her day today." Owner Megan Jones of Arnmore Farms added, "We bred her, and raced the mare [Nisharora] so this is very exciting, and this is her first foal so it's really thrilling. Down the stretch we were cheering for her, but I didn't think she got there. That was amazing. When Poppy kicks, it's always unbelievable but it just didn't look like she got there, so we are thrilled. It would be logical to run her at Saratoga next."

    Right: Poppy Flower heads to the winner's circle. Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, "She broke great. I felt like we had a good position. I was following Flavien [Prat aboard Amy C]. When he made his move, I made mine outside of him and luckily we got the bob in the end. You see the form of this mare - she's there every time. There's not a day that she hasn't shown up. I think she'd run on anything. She's just a trier and she gives me confidence. I knew she was going to run great and it's nice to ride a horse you know is going to give you 100 percent. Bill got her doing great and the owner is just great. I'm just so happy for everyone."

    horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Bubble Rock heads out to the track before the race. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "She broke in front nicely with no speed today. I was just cruising. I had time to get her inside and she got beat right there on the wire. She ran her race."

    Right: Third place finisher Amy C heads out to the track. The Phil D'Amato trainee improved her record to 5 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 11 starts, earning $272,385 for owners Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, and Robert LaPenta.

    horse racinghorse racing
    The traveling Secretariat statue continued its tour of the Triple Crown at Belmont Park. The statue by renowned equine artist Jocelyn Russell was first shipped from the foundry in Oklahoma to Ashland, VA for its unveiling, and is currently on the anniversary tour to commemorate 50 years since the 1973 Triple Crown. At 21 feet long and 11.5 feet tall, this is the largest monument of Secretariat in existence, dramatically illustrating the Virginia-born champion's larger-than-life presence as an equine athlete and American icon. Eventually the statue will go to its permanent home at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland as the first and only Secretariat monument in his home state.

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