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Las Virgenes Stakes
Elate takes her walk down Victory Lane after the Beldame.
Also on the card: Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and Pilgrim Stakes
The $400,000 Beldame Stakes (G1) features older fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles around one turn of the main track at Belmont Park as a final East Coast prep for the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Conditions were typical for late September on Long Island with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 60's, with earlier rains downgrading the main track to good but the turf remained firm. Alabama Stakes (G1) winner Elate was the 3-10 favorite in the field of 7. In to challenge her included 7-1 second choice Money'soncharlotte, winner of the Molly Pitcher (G3) at Monmouth, and 8-1 third choice Eskenformoney, 3rd in the Personal Ensign (G1).
Elate draws off in the stretch
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Elate Ortiz 3.50 2.60 2.20 5 Money'soncharlotte Velazquez 8.40 5.30 7 Eskenformoney Castellano 4.50 Winning Time: 1:50.21 $1 Exacta 1-5 7.30 $1 Trifecta 1-5-7 15.90 $1 Superfecta 1-5-7-2 32.00Results Chart
Left: Elate in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "I have a lot of confidence in the horse and the rider, and sometimes you're stuck down in there and you get stuffed, but he the length of the stretch to do it in and you could tell he was sitting there loaded. You don't know what's going to happen but I didn't lose any confidence. I was quite impressed with the acceleration she showed today when she did get through. I think that part of her has improved as the year's gone on. She's learning how to use her speed. We've had a good year. Anything we do from here on out is icing on the cake."
Right: Elate heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, "When (Irad Ortiz) hit (Bishop's Pond) left handed and she came over a little bit, that's when I squeezed through. But when she put her head in, she was all the way. She just blew by them. I was very confident on the turn, I knew I had them. I had a lot of horse just nowhere to go, but a lot of horse. I could have come out at the sixteenth pole and we would have been away. I had a lot of horse."
Left: Second place finisher Money'soncharlotte in the paddock before the race. Trainer Kelly Breen said, Johnny (Velazquez) rode a great race, not much more I could ask for when you see the horse that won ran a tremendous race. Johnny liked her. He had her in hand. She wanted to take off a little bit down the backstretch but she settled in nicely and she fought all the way to the wire. She knew the other horses were coming and she gave it her all to finish second. Not bad for a Grade 1."
Right: Third place finisher Eskenformoney returns after the race. The Todd Pletcher trainee improved her record to 4 wins, 7 seconds, and 7 thirds in 27 starts, earning $637,616 for owners StarLadies Racing and Lisa Troutt.
Takaful takes the lead in the stretch in the Vosburgh
Jockey Javier Castellano sent El Deal to the lead through fractions of 22.31 and 44.76 while pressed by 5-1 Takaful and stalked by Mr. Crow. Entering the lane, El Deal continued to lead through 5f in 56.88, but Takaful came out 4 wide under Jose Ortiz and rallied to win by a length in 1:09.69 over the good main track. It was another 1/2 length back to Stallwalkin' Dude third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Takaful Ortiz 11.80 4.90 3.20 2 El Deal Castellano 3.30 2.60 1 Stallwalkin' Dude Bravo 2.90 Winning Time: 1:09.69 $1 Exacta 4-2 19.00 $1 Trifecta 4-2-1 56.00 $1 Superfecta 4-2-1-6 256.50
Left: Takaful takes his walk down Victory Lane. Winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, "He's a special horse and I'm so happy to win a Grade 1 for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashai Al Maktoum, who is the owner, and Rick Nichols and all of Shadwell. They've been patient. We tried to go the Kentucky Derby route and it didn't work, and they let us just get him right. (Assistant) Joe Lee and his team here at Belmont have done a great job. He's a difficult horse in the mornings but a fun horse too when you end up in the winner's circle. Jose rode a great race. It gives us confidence that he was successfully able to stalk."
Right: Takaful in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, "He really dug in around the sixteenth pole when I switched the stick to the left hand. I hit him and he really dug in and got the victory. It was great, winning this race for good connections, for Kiaran and all the team. They're really nice people and I'm happy to win for them. He's a special horse. Everybody loves him. He's really hard to work with but when you win this kind of race, it makes it all worth it."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite El Deal returns after the race. Trainer Jorge Navarro said, "I think the track was a little bit dead. No excuses, it was a nice horse who beat us. I'll see how he cools out. We're going to go over him with the vet right now. It was a big effort. He lost to a really good 3-year-old. We got the start we wanted. There's no excuses. He's not nominated to the Breeders' Cup. I'll sit down and talk to the owners and see how he comes out of it."
Right: Third place finisher Stallwalkin' Dude heads out of the paddock. He improved his record to 19 wins, 8 seconds, and 9 thirds in 57 starts, earning $1,528,852 for owner-trainer David Jacobson and co-owner Head of Plains Partners LLC.
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