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Owner Gretchen Jackson leads jockey Ramon Dominguez and Check the Label down Victory Lane after the 2010 Garden City Stakes
The feature race at Belmont Park this weekend was the $250,000 Garden City Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies. A field of 7 contested this 1 1/8 mile inner turf event before just 5,506 spectators, with Check the Label sent off as the even money favorite off three straight victories in the Appalachian (G3), Sands Point (G2), and Virginia Oaks (G3). In to challenge her included 5-2 second choice Queen of the Creek, winner of the Riskaverse Stakes last out, and 5-1 third choice Negligee, third in the Sands Point (G2) but winless since the Alcibiades (G1) last year at Keeneland.
Check the Lavel gets the lead in the stretch
Jockey Julien Leparoux sent Queen of the Creek to the lead first time past the stands and she set fractions of 23.39, 47.80, and 1:13.11 while as many as 2 1/2 lengths in front of Negligee who stalked the pace in second. Entering the stretch, Queen of the Creek tired allowing 22-1 longest shot Gitchee Goomie, 5th early, to move up to take a short lead at the 1/8 pole through a mile in 1:38.74. Check the Label, who was unhurried in last as many as 13 lengths off the pace early, found room late and closed with a rush to win by 3/4 length over 7-1 Snow Top Mountain in 1:51.41 over the firm turf course. It was another length back to Gitchee Goomie third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Check the Label Dominguez 4.00 2.70 2.10 7 Snow Top Mountain Prado 5.50 3.70 2 Gitchee Goomie Coa 4.50 Winning Time: 1:51.41 $2 Exacta 1-7 18.40 $2 Trifecta 1-7-2 108.50 $2 Superfecta 1-7-2-3 898.00
Left: Check the Label in the winner's circle with owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson of Lael Stables.
Right: Check the Label circles after the race. Her trainer Graham Motion said, "I have a lot of confidence in this filly. I thought she would handle the going; she's handled just about everything thrown at her. Ramon had to steady her coming out of the turn; once again he was impressed with how she is able to get herself out of trouble. She's got such a tremendous turn of foot she can get herself out of almost any situation. That's part of what makes her special. The Jacksons (owners) and I will discuss what's next for her; we'll look at the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup."
Left: Check the Label heads out of the paddock.
Right: Check the Label in the post parade. Her jockey Ramon Dominguez said, "On soft ground like this, it's very difficult to make up that kind of ground and she just overcame all the trouble. She showed that she's a nice filly. She gave me a great kick - really, it's hard to appreciate how much I had to take away from her. For any horse it would have been a perfect excuse not to finish up after that because of all the run that I took away from her, but she was there for me."
Left: Second place finisher Snow Top Mountain heads out of the paddock. Her trainer Tom Proctor said, "I was very pleased with Snow Top Mountain today. Edgar rode her great and everything went well." Jockey Edgar Prado added, "It was a beautiful trip. She saved ground the whole way. She broke sharp and we found the right hole to tuck her right in behind horses. I was biding my time and when I asked her she gave me a good kick. I was just too short."
Right: Third place finisher Gitchee Goomie returns after the race. The 22-1 longest shot raced in fifth early under jockey Eibar Coa, saving ground while as many as 12 lengths off the pace, then came out wide to pass tiring horses late to get third beaten 1 3/4 lengths. The Rick Violette trainee improved her record to 1 win, 3 seconds, and 1 third in 6 starts, earning $76,174 for owner Patsy C. Symons.
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