Woodward Stakes Day
Mohawk Million Night
Summer & Natalma Stakes
Prince of Wales Stakes
Junior Alvarado celebrates aboard Cody's Wish after winning the Met Mile
Of the three Triple Crown races, the undercard of the Belmont Stakes has the most prestigious races on its undercard. The 48,089 fans in attendance at "Big Sandy" on Long Island were also treated to 8 additional graded stakes before the main event including five Grade 1 events and 3 Breeders' Cup Challenge Series "Win and You're In" qualifiers. Conditions were excellent with cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 70's, with the main track rated fast and the two turf courses rated firm. All sources handle for the 13-race Belmont Stakes Day card was $118,283,455, which is a NYRA record for a non-Triple Crown year, of which $10,657,332 was bet on-track.
The $1 million Hill 'N' Dale Metropolitan Handicap (G1) featured a field of 5 older horses going 1 mile around 1 turn of the main track looking for automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. 2022 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Cody's Wish was sent off as the 3-5 favorite off his Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) win, over 5-1 second choice Charge It, fifth in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2), and 7-1 third choice Zandon, second in the Westchester (G3).
14-1 Dr. Schivel, 24-1 Slow Down Andy, and 45-1 longest shot Hoist the Gold battled for the early lead out of the chute and down the backstretch through fractions of 22.76 and 45.86 while stalked by 19-2 Repo Rocks and Charge It. Turning for home the pacesetters tired as favorite Cody's Wish, 8th early under Junior Alvarado, swept to the lead 5 wide through 3/4 in 1:10.16. Cody's Wish drew off through the lane to win by 3 1/4 lengths over late-running Zandon in 1:34.36. It was a head back to 20-1 White Abarrio third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Cody's Wish Alvarado 3.30 2.40 2.30 6 Zandon Prat 5.00 3.30 9 White Abarrio Gaffalione 5.50 Winning Time: 1:34.36 $1 Exacta 1-6 6.40 $1 Trifecta 1-6-9 37.00 $1 Superfecta 1-6-9-5 154.00
Left: Cody's Wish in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "It's as heartwarming for me as it is for the fans watching. I had a lot of people tell me what a great story this is. For sure, it's a great story, but it goes along with a good horse. He's developed nicely. I thought he had a possibility of being a good horse before we ever ran him. It took us a couple of races to get him going in the right direction and to get him educated enough to where he knew how to use his run. He's finally figured it out."
Right: Cody's Wish heads back to the barn in his winner's blanket. Michael Banahan representing winning owner-breeder Godolphin said, "He was so cool, calm and collected in the paddock. He had his game face on. He is a special, special horse. We are lucky to have him. Junior [Alvarado] is sitting on him and he has to give him a squeeze that he's really there for him. But when he's done it, he's suddenly gone and he's gone quickly with him. He looked like he was toying with them at the end. It's something to win the Met Mile by that big of a margin."
Left: Second place finisher Zandon in the post parade. Trainer Chad Brown said, "He ran fine. The winner was much the best. He's a super-impressive horse. I'm real proud of my horse. He got collared there by a real salty horse in White Abarrio and battled back for second. The fact that he did that proves to me that his best races are probably around two turns moving forward." He will go next in the Whitney at Saratoga.
Right: Third place finisher White Abarrio returns after the race. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, "We had great position down the backside. There were a couple of early moves that put us in a pocket, but he was game to come back on and fight back for third. It was a big effort for him. From the 1/2 mile pole, to the 3/8 pole, I didn't really have anywhere to go. I had to sit on him for a little while. I think he's a little better going one turn, he's got a lot of natural speed and it's better if you let him do his thing."
Jockey Florent Geroux sent 18-1 Strong Quality to a clear lead first time by through fractions of 23.18, 47.74, 1:12.34, and 1:36.15 while pressed by 54-1 longest shot Ocean Atlantique and stalked by 48-1 So High and favorite Up to the Mark. Turning for home the pacesetters tired as Up to the Mark swept to the lead 4 wide through 9f in 1:47.65. Kept to task by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., Up to the Mark drew off to win by 2 3/4 lengths over 16-1 Soldier Rising in 1:59.31. It was a head back to Ottoman Fleet third.
Full results chart
Left: Up to the Mark in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "Todd didn't tell me too much about the horse, he just let me ride the horse. He broke good and put me in a good spot. Todd told me I have to speed inside of me and to follow them. We were on the same page. So when he broke and put me in a good spot, I took it. After that, I was sitting off the leaders waiting. I sat for a long time Luis Saez and then when I felt someone outside, I made sure to get to work on him. He ran a great race."
Right: Up to the Mark heads back to the barn in his new winner's blanket. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "He gives me the impression that he'll handle a little more ground. I don't know what we'll do from here. When you're thinking Breeders' Cup, he's probably the type of horse where you could go in two different directions. We probably need a little experience at 1 1/2 to know [which]. We also have the Arlington Million at 1 1/4. We'll enjoy this for the moment and come up with a strategy."
Left: Second place finisher Soldier Rising returns after the race. Jockey Jose Ortiz said, "It was a beautiful trip. We saved all the ground, then made one run. I'm very happy we got up there for second. His effort was huge. He was coming into the race in great shape. Mr. [trainer Christophe] Clement has him doing amazing. They are doing great and he showed it, he proved it. He belongs here. One of these days we are going to win a big one with him. He's good enough, Up to the Mark is just a really nice horse."
Right: Third place finisher Ottoman Fleet returns after the race. Jockey William Buick said, "I followed the winner, so I was happy. The pace was good and even. He was running like he was going to be a good second and he just lost second on the line. He won over nine furlongs last time, so maybe cut back a furlong next time. He felt good today. He probably is a bit better with some juice in the ground, but you've got to be happy with a run like that."
Kicking off the Saturday stakes action, the $250,000 True North Stakes (G2) featured a field of 6 older horses sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track. breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) and Riyadh Dirt Sprint (G3) winner Elite Power was sent off as the 3-4 favorite over 2-1 second choice Strobe, second in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) and 6-1 third choice Today's Flavor, winner of the Affirmed Success after finishing fourth in the Carter Handicap (G1).
Jockey Manny Franco sent Today's Flavor to the lead through fractions of 23.25 and 46.12 while pressed by Strobe and stalked by 12-1 Anarchist. Turning for home Elite Power, 4th early, swept to the lead 4 wide through 3/4 in 1:09.34. Kept to task by Irad Ortiz Jr., Elite Power drew off to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Anarchist in 1:15.65. It was another 3 3/4 lengths back to Strobe third.
Full results chart
Left: Elite Power in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "He's such a nice and exciting horse. He's won his last seven starts. He broke well in the clear and put me in a perfect spot. He was close enough to run them down. I just left him there and when I asked him, he responded right away. He was great last year. You can see his performances and campaign last year was great. I'm hoping he's the same or better than he was last year, so far it looks great. He hasn't made any mistakes out there. He looks like he's doing great right now."
Right: Elite Power heads back to the barn. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "He got the job done. I noticed the fractions, 23 and change, weren't overly quick, but he's still got a pretty good punch to him. He really is [exceptional]. It's turning out that way. He's gotten very good. We'll look to Saratoga and maybe the Vanderbilt." Garrett O'Rourke representing owner Juddmonte Farm added, "The oddity of this guy is that dirt sprinting isn't anything we've ever really geared our program for. Obviously, we purchased this guy and it's really nice that for the first time we're winning races that we hadn't before. These are races that we'd never even competed in before. This is very satisfying."
A field of 6 older horses went 1 mile on the Widener turf course in the $200,000 Poker Stakes (G3). Maker's Mark Mile (G1) winner Chez Pierre was sent off as the 2-5 favorite over 5-1 second choice Filo Di Arianna, second in an allowance in April after winning the King Edward (G2) last August at Woodbine, and 6-1 third choice Emmanuel, third in the Dinner Party (G3) at Pimlico.
Jockey Luis Saez sent Filo Di Arianna to the lead through fractions fo 23.94, 47.82, and 1:11.42 while pressed by Chez Pierre and stalked by 16-1 Anaconda. Into the stretch Filo di Arianna continued to lead through 7f in 1:22.69 but Emmanuel, last early under Irad Ortiz Jr., came out 5 wide and rallied to win by a neck in 1:34.25. It was another 1/2 length back to favorite Chez Pierre third.
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Left: Emmanuel heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "He broke good and I knew some horses had more speed than me. I just wanted to get him in a good spot. Last time, you see the fractions, they went a little quick [in the Dinner Party]. He went fast and kept fighting that day from the eighth-pole. Today, he was perfect. The mile flat suits him perfect here at Belmont." Trainer Todd Pletcher added, "He had no chance that day at Keeneland, it was over at the break. But he's come back with two good races. I'd think [the Fourstardave at Saratoga] is one of the races that's on the radar."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Chez Pierre in the post parade. Jockey Flavien Prat said, "I had a good trip. He jumped well out of there. I got myself outside of the leader. He relaxed well from there on the backside and he made a good move turning for home and then he just couldn't go by the horse in front and that was it."
The $400,000 Brooklyn Stakes (G2) featured a field of 10 older horses going the Belmont Stakes trip of 1 1/2 miles on the main track. Isaac Murphy Marathon Stakes winner Warrant was sent off as the 5-2 favorite over 11-4 second choice Bright Future, third in an allowance last out, and 3-1 third choice Next, winner of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G2) before finishing third in the Isaac Murphy.
Jockey Luan Machado sent Next to the lead first time by through fractions of 24.37, 50.02, 1:16.12, 1:41.62, and 2:05.82 while pressed by Warrant and stalked by 7-2 fourth choice Red Run. Turning for home, Next quickly opened up a 6 length lead through 11f in 2:18.09, cruising the rest of the way to finish 2 1/4 lengths clear of late-running 9-1 Calibrate in 2:31.01. It was another 3 1/4 lengths back to Red Run third, and 1 1/2 more to favorite Warrant fourth.
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Left: Next in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Doug Cowans said, "This horse likes to go to the lead and get into a rhythm. Go to the lead, slow it down as slow as we could and try to keep a length in front the whole way. I had watched him all winter at Turfway Park and liked this horse. I took a shot on him (by claiming him). I was not always thinking distance for him. After I got the horse, I got the horse in his breezes [and] I noticed he had a lot of stamina after the breeze. The Birdstone at Saratoga is going to be next for the horse if all goes well."
Right: Seecond place finisher Calibrate heads out to the track. His jockey Ruben Silvera said, "He went in and was tough. I tried over behind the horses and waited for the end, but you know, that horse [No. 5, Next] was a monster. He got out in front of us and if he wins, he wins."
The $500,000 Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) featured a field of 6 older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles around 1 turn of the main track, and is a Breeders' Cup Challenge race in the Distaff division. Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) winner Clairiere was sent off as the 7-4 favorite over 9-4 second choice Search Results, third in the La Troienne (G1), and 3-1 third choice Secret Oath, second in both the Apple Blossom and La Troienne.
9-2 fourth choice Played Hard and 42-1 longest shot Gamestonks dueled for the lead down the backstretch through fractions of 24.32 and 48.63 while stalked by Search Results and Secret Oath. On the far turn Gamestonks tired as Played Hard led through 3/4 in 1:13.85. Turning for home, Search Results took over through 1 mile in 1:37.26 but favorite Clairiere, last early under Joel Rosario, came out 4 wide and rallied to win by 1/2 a length in 1:43.40. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to Played Hard third.
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Left: Clairiere in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, "It was a good trip, but at a slow pace, a little bit slow. We thought it was going to be a little bit quicker. She knows how to get it done and win a race. I was very confident. However, you never know... you never know. It looked like a second a horse got away from me, but [Clairiere] was able to put it all together and come with the run that she always does to get it done. She's very special. She really goes out there and does her job. Not many come that way."
Right: Clairiere heads back to the barn after the race. Winning owner Barbara Banke said, "I am very proud and of course her mother [Cavorting] won this race, too. It's been a family tradition. She does have a late kick and Joel left it just enough to give me a slight coronary condition, but she made it through. It's always better when it's a homebred. We have her mother and of course her dad, Curlin. It's all in the family. I have a really good [foal] that's a full [brother] to Clairiere."
The $400,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (G1) presented by Mohegan Sun featured 10 three-year-olds sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. Lexington (G3) runner-up and Sir Barton winner Arabian Lion was sent off as the 9-4 favorite over 3-1 second choice General Jim, winner of the Pat Day Mile (G2), and 7-2 third choice Drew's Gold, winner of the Jimmy Winkfield and Gold Fever Stakes.
Jockey Flavien Prat sent 17-2 Federal Judge to the front through fractions of 22.65 and 45.64 while pressed by Drew's Gold and stalked by Arabian Lion and 7-1 Gilmore. Into the stretch Federal Judge tired as Arabian Lion swept 3 wide to lead through 3/4 in 1:09.37. Kept to task by John Velazquez, Arabian Lion drew off to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Drew's Gold in 1:21.70. It was another 3/4 length back to Gilmore third.
Full results chart
Left: Arabian Lion in the winner's circle. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "He broke well. He got outrun right away so I sat behind the leaders. When I asked him to do it down the lane, he responded right away. He is a nice horse."
Right: Arabian Lion in the post parade. Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "The Lexington Stakes was a headscratcher. It looked like he was going to win and I think he saw something in the crowd and quit running and then he got beat. His race at Pimlico was amazing. I flew him back to California and I said, ‘I probably wont bring him back' but he was doing so well, I could tell. He's just a smaller version of [sire] Justify and to have a horse by Justify - one of the greatest horses I've ever trained – and to bring him to New York and win a Grade 1, that's what we're all in the game for."
A full field of 14 older horses contested the $400,000 Jaipur Stakes (G1) at 6 furlongs on the Widener turf looking for automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. 2022 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) and 2023 Shakertown (G2) winner Caravel was sent off as the 11-4 favorite over 7-2 second choice Casa Creed, second in the 1351 Turf Sprint (G3) in Riyadh, and 4-1 third choice Big Invasion, seventh in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2).
Jockey Manny Franco sent 13-1 Nothing Better to the front through fractions of 22.19 and 44.80 while pressed by Caravel and stalked by 12-1 Go Bears Go and 20-1 Air Force Red. Into the stretch Nothing Better tired allowing Caravel to take over through 5f in 56.15, and held off late-running Big Invasion to win by 3/4 length in 1:07.93. It was a neck back to Casa Creed third.
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Left: Caravel in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Brad Cox said, "The owners called an audible [to skip Royal Ascot] and I was good with it. I was totally on board with it. She showed up and ran a big one today. This is two Grade 1s for her against the boys. I don't think I've ever had a filly to beat the boys. The Breeders' Cup is our main target. There are some races up at Saratoga but I'm not sure yet how many more times we would need to run prior to the Breeders Cup. We'll just try to keep her happy and healthy. She never ceases to amaze me. She is absolutely amazing. She just never lets you down."
Right: Caravel heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, "Coming from the outside, I wanted to be a little bit aggressive and get her into a forward position. She put me where I wanted to be and she travelled great, in hand. Coming into the stretch, I had so much confidence and she put them away nicely. It was nice to sit off because we know for sure for the future that she can do that."
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