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Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin leads Lear's Princess down Victory Lane after winning the Gazelle
The only Grade 1 event in the United States this weekend was the $250,000 Gazelle Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles around one turn of the main track at Belmont Park. An announced attendance of 7,361 was on hand to witness the return to the track of Belmont Stakes winning filly Rags to Riches, who had been unraced since due to illness. The Todd Pletcher trainee was sent off as the 2-5 favorite in a short field of just 5. Kiaran McLaughlin trainee Lear's Princess was the 2-1 second choice, coming off two close runner-up finishes in Grade 1 competition, the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont and the Alabama at Saratoga. Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks winner Tough Tiz's Sis was the 11-1 third choice, coming off a seventh place finish in the Alabama.
Lear's Princess and Rags to Riches duel down the stretch with Tough Tiz's Sis behind
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Lear's Princess Coa 6.20 2.30 2.10 5 Rags to Riches Velazquez 2.10 2.10 3 Tough Tiz's Sis Bejarano 2.40 Winning Time: 1:47.86 $2 Exacta 1-5 10.80 $2 Trifecta 1-5-3 31.00
Lear's Princess in the winner's circle. Her trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, "It worked out great. Eibar is riding with a lot of confidence. I didn't think we would ever be outside of Rags to Riches, but we were and it worked out great. She deserved to win a Grade 1. I hate that we had to beat Rags to Riches, in a way, but that gives much more credit to our filly. The only worry with putting the blinkers on today was that she might get a little rank. We were talking about it, and she is such a classy filly and she does everything right, so we decided to put them on. Rags to Riches ran great, which was good for that team, because there has been a lot of pressure on them. We'll go straight to the Breeders' Cup Distaff."
Lear's Princess returns after the race. Her jockey Eibar Coa, who won 2 of the 4 stakes races on the card, said, "I really had a lot of confidence in her. She closed all right. She's overcome a lot. She's proved she belongs with the best fillies. She was just great today. I think she was more professional with the blinkers. Before, she used to switch leads and look around. Today, she was a little more focused."
Second place finisher and beaten favorite Rags to Riches in the paddock before the race. Her trainer Todd Pletcher said, "She didn't run a bad race. Obviously, the winner has been knocking on the door in some big races, and she was the one we feared. It has been well documented that we haven't had a real smooth three months since the Belmont. I'd say that some missed workouts, some temperatures and this and that from June 9 to today hurt us inside of the 1/16 pole. The filly got beat a neck, giving the winner 7 pounds and she hasn't run in 3 months."
Her jockey John Velazquez said, "She had a lot of
time off. (Lear's Princess) had been running the whole time.
She just got a little bit tired. She did everything good until she got
to the 1/16 pole. She just got tired."
Rags to Riches returns after the race. On Sunday morning, it was announced that Rags to Riches suffered a hairline fracture to her right front pastern during the race. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "The injury is not career ending, and she is expected to make a full recovery. It appears as though she sustained the injury during the stretch run. When she switched to the right lead, she came off the bridle and lugged in a bit. Though she cooled out fine following the race she appeared to be slightly off this morning. Subsequent X-rays discovered the hairline fracture. She is resting comfortably and will ship to Ashford Stud tomorrow where she will receive six weeks of stall rest to give the fracture time to heal. At the conclusion of her convalescence she will be re-x-rayed to determine when she will resume training. She will not race again until 2008."
Third place finisher Tough Tiz's Sis heads out for the post parade.
Dance Away Capote start to draw away in the stretch
17-1 Rahy's Appeal battled through the first half mile down the backstretch with 7-1 Bayou's Lassie through fractions of 22.98 and 46.19 before Rahy's Appeal stopped badly to eventually come home last. Bayou's Lassie inherited the front and led the pack around the turn, getting 3/4 in 1:10.67, with Pommes Frites stalking her in second, but the hot pace up front set the race up for the closers. 9-1 Dance Away Capote, who was 9th down the backstretch, came out four wide into the lane and charged to the front when asked by jockey Alan Garcia. She took over the lead at the 3/16 pole, and although Fantastic Shirl put in a tremendous rally on the outside from last place, she was left with too much ground to make up as Dance Away Capote cruised under the line 4 1/2 lengths clear in 1:34.82 over the firm course. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to favorite Pommes Frites, who was in contention the whole way but could not improve position late.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 9 Dance Away Capote Garcia 20.40 9.30 5.80 8 Fantastic Shirl Desormeaux 6.20 3.70 10 Pommes Frites Bridgmohan 3.40 Winning Time: 1:34.82 $2 Exacta 9-8 99.50 $2 Trifecta 9-8-10 325.50 $2 Superfecta 9-8-10-3 5,440.00
Dance Away Capote in the winner's circle. Her trainer Barclay Tagg (far left) said, "She has to have things go her own way. She got that today. She came a bit wide and got spun off the rail. I thought she would have plenty left at the top of the stretch. The speed came back today. Usually, in a mile race, they'll go a little faster up front. She was so far behind early, I did have my doubts. She's a lovely filly. Grass is probably a little easier on her. I don't know where we will go next."
Her jockey Alan Garcia said, "The pace was very fast. I just
tried to keep her comfortable. She really took off and ran hard when I
Second place finisher Fantastic Shirl in the post parade.
Third place finisher and beaten favorite Pommes Frites returns after the race. 3-1 favorite Pommes Frites raced with the pace 3 wide early under new rider Shaun Bridgmohan, chased the leaders into the stretch but came up empty late, holding third place. The Bill Mott trainee improved her record to 9 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds in 21 starts, earning $554,316 for owner-breeder Haras Santa Maria de Araras.
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