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2006 Gazelle Stakes Results

Jockey Javier Castellano celebrates his win aboard Pine Island

   Man O'War results
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Date: 09/09/2006

The $250,000 Gazelle Stakes (G1) features 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles around one turn of Belmont Park's main track. Only six went to post in this prep race for the Breeders' Cup Distaff, with Pine Island sent off as the even-money favorite off her win in the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga last time out. In to challenge the heavy favorite were 2-1 second choice Bushfire, coming into the race off two consecutive Grade 1 wins in the Acorn and the Mother Goose, and 5-1 third choice Wild Fit, who hasn't won since the Del Mar Debutante last August and who was beaten 20 lengths in her last start.

Pine Island and Teammate duel down the stretch
Bushfire was allowed an uncontested lead down the backstretch through quick fractions of 23.87 and 46.92 with 7-1 Teammate and Wild Fit battling for second place while settling a length and a half off the pace. Turning for home, Bushfire continued to hold the lead after 3/4 in 1:10.70, but Teammate had closed the gap to draw even with the pacesetter. Through the stretch, Bushfire faded from contention as Teammate took over the lead with a furlong to go. However, Pine Island, who had raced in fifth early, was closing along the center of the track and easily passed Teammate late to prevail by a length in a time of 1:48.93 over the fast track. It was a long 9-length gap back from Teammate to 28-1 Last Romance in third, while Bushfire faded to fifth.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place  Show
 5   Pine Island        Castellano    4.10    2.60  2.10
 4   Teammate           Velasquez             4.80  3.90
 3   Last Romance       Velazquez                   4.90

Winning Time:  1:48.93

$2 Exacta 5-4                15.60
$2 Trifecta 5-4-3            99.50
Results Chart from DRF.

Owner Dinny Phipps leads Pine Island and a jubilant Javier Castellano down Victory Lane. Winning trainer Shug McGaughey said, "She hasn't missed a beat since the Alabama. I can't say I wasn't nervous bringing her back in three weeks off two 1 1/4 mile races. We were very pleased with her today. She's an old, hard-running, big, old, country kind of horse and she always gives her all. She's run six races, has four wins and two of them are Grade 1s. We'll sit and watch her. I might be more inclined to wait for the Breeders' Cup. I'll just have to let her tell me. My thinking of coming back here was trying to hook Bushfire off a layoff."

Pine Island in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "She stumbled in the first jump, (but) nothing bothers the filly. She's getting better and better. Today, right at the 3/8 pole, she was right behind the speed horses. When I asked her at the quarter-pole, vroom!"

Second place finisher Teammate in the post parade. Her owner and breeder Joseph Allen said, "Allen (Jerkens, trainer) has done a superb job with her. We've always liked her. I think she is getting better. We'll see how she comes out." Jockey Cornelio Velasquez added, "My filly ran real big today. The filly that beat me is real good. At the top of the stretch I had a lot of horse, and my filly ran good down the stretch. But the winner was too good."

Third place finisher Last Romance returns after the race.

Fifth place finisher and close second favorite Bushfire in the paddock before the race. Her trainer Eddie Kenneally said, "She got a little tired. She hadn't run in 10 weeks. Edgar (Prado) said she handled everything fine. We'll see how she comes out and make a decision." Edgar Prado added, "I thought she was relaxed down the backside. When I asked her for a little bit around the half-mile pole, I knew I was in trouble."

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