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Kendrick Carmouche celebrates aboard Lost Ark after the 2023 Jockey Club Derby
The feature race on Saturday at Aqueduct's "Belmont at the Big A" fall meeting is the $500,000 Jockey Club Derby Invitational (G3) for three-year-olds going 1 3/8 miles over the inner turf. Conditions were typical for early October, with fog and rain and temperatures in the mid 60's downgrading the main track to sloppy and the turf courses to yielding. Due to the rain-soaked turf, the race was moved to the main track at 1 1/4 miles and automatically downgraded to "listed" (ungraded) status pending review. Originally a field of 9 was entered but after 4 scratches just 5 went to post with Classic Catch sent off as the 6-5 favorite off a Saratoga allowance win after finishing 4th in the Peter Pan
Lost Ark (outside) runs down Classic Catch (inside) in the stretch.
(G3) and 5th in the Pegasus. In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Fearless Soldier, an allowance winner making his stakes debut, and 7-2 third choice Lost Ark, 3rd in the Saranac (G3).
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. sent Fearless Soldier to the front first time by through fractions of 23.91, 48.21, and 1:12.72 while pressed by Lost Ark and stalked by Classic Catch. On the far turn Fearless Soldier tired allowing Lost Ark to take over through 1 mile in 1:37.87. Lost Ark and jockey Kendrick Carmouche opened up a 1 1/2 length lead midstretch, and held off late-running Classic Catch to win by 3/4 length in 2:03.97. It was a long 3 1/4 lengths back to Fearless Soldier third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 8 Lost Ark Carmouche 9.70 3.60 2.50 6 Classic Catch Geroux 2.50 2.10 4 Fearless Soldier Ortiz Jr. 2.50 Winning Time: 2:03.97 $1 Exacta 8-6 8.40 $1 Trifecta 8-6-4 24.50 $1 Superfecta 8-6-4-5 37.00Results Chart
Left: Lost Ark in the winner's circle. Byron Hughes, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher (who trains the exacta) said, "He's shown a lot of ability on the dirt and I thought Kendrick did a good job of letting him run into that first turn and got a good position on our stablemate's [Fearless Soldier] outside shoulder. He was able to kick home and got the job done."
Right: The trophy presentation.
Left: Lost Ark walks over before the race.
Right: Lost Ark returns after the race. Winning jockey Kendrick Carmouche said, "They put blinkers on him and I thought he should have been forward. They wanted me to put him forward. I was sitting in a perfect spot the whole way around there. It was going to be whoever quickened at the end, and none of them quickened. We just galloped around there. I'm glad it came off the turf. I thought I had a decent shot on the grass, but I had an even bigger shot on the dirt."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Classic Catch walks over before the race. Byron Hughes, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I thought he ran well. He definitely got bothered at the start and got pinched pretty hard and was sitting at the back of the pack throughout. Florent did a good job giving a patient ride and he was able to split horses at the 3/8 pole and made a good, solid run but couldn't catch the winner."
Right: Third place finisher Fearless Soldier returns after the race. The Todd Pletcher trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 6 starts, earning $230,303 for owners Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable, and Gainesway Stable.
War Like Goddess wins the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic
Jockey Romero Maragh sent 90-1 longest shot So High to a clear lead first time by through fractions of 24.76, 49.56, 1:15.62, 1:40.94, and 2:06.42 while pressed by 17-1 Pioneering Spirit and favorite Rebel's Romance. Turning for home, So High continue to lead but War Like Goddess, 7th early under Junior Alvarado, came out 5 wide for room, drawing off to win by 4 1/2 lengths over 17-2 fourth choice Soldier Rising in a new course record 2:32.86. It was another length back to pacesetter So High third, and a neck more to favorite Rebel's Romance fourth.
Left: War Like Goddess in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "She wasn't that far back from the second, third and fourth horse. She wasn't really that far back at all. Ordinarily, 90 percent of the time when a horse opens up that much, they usually come back. Obviously, you'll have times when they don't, but she was close enough to the other horses. If she runs (in the Breeders' Cup) she'll run against the boys. I won't run her at 1 1/4 (Filly and Mare Turf). She's a mile and a half filly."
Right: War Like Goddess in the post parade. Winning jockey Junior Alvarado said, "On occasion, she can get very keen and I think that's the time when she gets beat because she is fighting herself. So, I just tried to relax and she did relax for me the whole way around. I was sitting chill where I wanted to be, and by the time I started to pick it up I had a ton of horse. Even when I turned for home and saw that horse was 10-to-12 lengths in front of me, I knew I was going to catch him when I asked my filly and she gives me that turn of foot that she has."
Left: Second place finisher Soldier Rising returns after the race. Jockey Dylan Davis said, "I was trying to get some good position out of there, but I ended up not getting what I liked. The frontrunner really distanced himself by maybe 20 lengths. I had to bide my time and wait for the other horses to make their run instead of putting him in a chasing spot. He finished great, nice and strong. [War Like Goddess] was impressive as well. I had no problems with it. The ground was great out there. They dropped the rail to zero feet. It is soft because we got a lot of rain, mostly into the turns. But the horse ran great, I was happy with it."
Right: Third place finisher So High returns after the race. Jockey Romero Maragh said, "He's a cool horse. He doesn't really have too much of a big kick so I didn't want to rate him too much. I just wanted him to go out there and kind of have fun, put his ears up and relax as much as he can. Every time [trainer Naipaul] Chatterpaul brings him to the races he is always fit, so that was what I relied on heavily. It was a great trip for me. He ran his heart out, like he always does."
Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Rebel's Romance. Jockey William Buick said, "The ground was too soft. He had a beautiful run through. The leader [So High] stole the march, and the other two [War Like Goddess and Soldier Rising] picked him off and I couldn't. I was struggling out there."
Just F Y I wins the Frizette Stakes
Jockey Jairo Rendon sent 15-2 fourth choice Irish Maxima to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 23.63 and 47.69 while pressed by Emery and stalked by Just F Y I Into the stretch Irish Maxima tired as Just F Y I moved up to take over the lead through 3/4 in 1:13.10. Kept to task by Junior Alvarado, Just F Y I drew off late to win by 3 3/4 lengths over 18-1 Central Avenue in 1:37.59. It was another 1/2 length back to Life Talk third, and a length more to favorite Emery fourth.
Left: Just F Y I heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "[The track] was the big question and we didn't know. You don't know until you run them. We thought she was a nice filly and, in this day and age, I guess if you break your maiden impressively you're looking at going to a stakes race because there aren't many allowance races." Winning owner-breeder George Krikorian added, "Going a longer distance, we were hopeful that distance was going to be helpful to her, which it turned out to be. With the bad weather and everything, you never know how the horses are going to do. She handled it all well and she handles everything well."
Right: Just F Y I walks over before the race. Winning jockey Junior Alvarado said, "I was very happy with what I had under me the whole way around. I was just hoping by the time I let her go, she wasn't going to fool me. Right when I asked her, she started picking it up. She had that beautiful long stride. Right when she switched leads, I knew she would be OK turning for home. She finished up nice and strong."
Left: Second place finisher Central Avenue heads out of the paddock. Jockey Javier Castellano said, "She was very professional going inside on the rail. I cut the corner and there was a lot of kickback coming from behind horses. She handled it really well. It was only the second start of her career and the way she handled the kickback was nice. With a little more distance, she'll do well."
Right: Third place finisher Life Talk walks over before the race. The Todd Pletcher trainee improved her record to 1 win, 1 second, and 1 third in 3 starts, earning $126,750 for owner Repole Stable.
Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Emery. The Brad Cox trainee has a record of 1 win, 0 seconds, and 0 thirds in 2 starts, earning $81,750 for owner Stonestreet Stables.
Timberlake wins the Champagne Stakes
Jockey Manny Franco sent General Partner to the lead through fractions of 22.49, 45.44, and 1:10.41 while pressed by 101-1 longest shot Sweet Soddy J and stalked by Timberlake. Into the stretch, Timberlake took over through 7f in 1:22.98. Kept to task by Florent Geroux, Timberlake drew off to win by 4 1/4 lengths over General Partner in 1:35.90. It was a long 6 1/4 lengths back to 37-1 Dancing Groom third, while favorite Fierceness was 6th early and failed to rally finishing 7th beaten 20 1/4 lengths.
Left: Timberlake heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Brad Cox said, "He ran good. I was very proud of him. He got a good, clean trip today. Florent [Geroux] did a great job. He got away well. We had a bit of a rough trip in the Hopeful. I thought with a little bit of a cleaner run he maybe would have got to the wire first, but that's the way it goes. I'm very proud of the effort today. It was a huge win."
Right: Timberlake in the post parade. Winning jockey Florent Geroux said, "I think it set him up perfect for the Breeders' Cup and hopefully the horse comes back healthy and we can move forward. He's not the quickest horse out of the gate, but he always puts himself in a good position. We knew what we had. Last time he was the favorite in the Hopeful and had a little bit of trouble and was very rank. Today, we took the blinkers off and he was way more relaxed and [I'm] hoping he is going to improve again."
Left: Second place finisher General Partner returns after the race. Jockey Manny Franco said, "He ran great. He did what he knows to do and went to the lead and was second best today and ran a really good race. He's going to keep improving, which I like."
Right: Third place finisher Dancing Groom walks over before the race. Jockey Trevor McCarthy said, "We really liked him coming into the race and he had been training really good. He was the only horse that had gone a mile and won at a mile. We knew that the distance would be really good and there were a lot of sprinters today, so we thought there's going to be a pretty hot pace and just break well and get into a good rhythm and let him come home running. He ran an awesome race today, he's still two, he's going to mature over time and there's a bright future for the horse."
Today's Flavor wins the Belmont Turf Sprint
Jockey Javier Castellano sent Today's Flavor to the lead through fractions of 22.33 and 45.41 while pressed by 9-1 Dancing Buck and stalked by 21-1 Alogon. Turning for home Today's Flavor continued to lead through 5f in 57.27 and held off late-running Thin White Duke by 1/2 a length to win in 1:09.74. It was another 1/2 length back to Wit third.
Left: Today's Flavor in the winner's circle. Blair Golen, assistant to winning trainer George Weaver said, His win last time was just an experiment [on turf] because he is a Laoban and he's a very versatile horse. They were a little frustrated with him and the way he was going, and they tried to freshen him up over the summer. He breezed excellent, so what's the worst that would happen? He wouldn't win? So, now we have a lot of options. As soon as he gets away from the horses, he settles. Like you'll see in his demeanor out of the gate, he runs hard and once he gets on the lead, he just lengthens out his stride and covers a lot of ground. As soon as he feels them or hears [the competition], he just kicks on."
Right: Today's Flavor walks over before the race. Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "It was supposed to be on the turf, but it rained and the conditions worked out in my case for this particular race, especially the way he did it. I'm very fortunate enough I rode him last time on the turf here and covered up a little bit to save all the ground. Today was a different ballgame with the way the track played. I tried to use his speed on the lead and run wire-to-wire. I had a lot of confidence with him and knew he would put in a good show today and I'm happy with the result today."
Left: Second place finisher Thin White Duke returns after the race. Jockey Jose Lezcano said, "He ran big. The winner kept running but I'm happy with his race. The track is heavy the whole way around. The last times he had been winning on grass but today he gave a good race." Trainer David Donk added, "The winner ran huge, but I thought our horse ran really big. He's still a better grass horse, but this gives us a little confidence if a race comes off the grass now."
Right: Third place finisher Wit returns after the race. Jockey Florent Geroux said, "He ran great, actually. I think he was a little bit surprised switching back from turf to dirt, especially after going longer distances. He finished with a lot of horse. I think it was a little bit short for him. If the race were a little longer, I think he would have been the winner to be honest."
Kicking off the stakes action, the $200,000 Waya Stakes (G3) featured just 4 older fillies and mares (after 4 scratches) going 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf (this stakes remained on the course). Flower Bowl (G2) runner-up McKulick was sent off as the 2-5 favorite over 9-2 second choice Parnac, winner of the Flower Bowl, 8-1 third choice Sister Otoole, winner of the CTT and TOC Stakes at Del Mar, and 10-1 longest shot Idea Generation, 7th in the Virginia Oaks.
Jockey Florent Geroux sent Idea Generation to the lead first time by through fractions of 25.14, 51.40, 1:17.23, 1:43.00, and 2:07.63 while pressed by Parnac and stalked by McKulick. In the stretch Irad Ortiz Jr. sent McKulick to lead and he edged away to a 2 length win in 2:20.10. It was a long 2 1/4 lengths back to Sister Otoole third, and 8 1/4 more to Parnac last.
Left: McKulick in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown who trains the exacta said, "She did great. She was very unlucky in the Flower Bowl, she was clearly the best in that race. She got race ridden a little bit there by the horse that finished last [Parnac]. I wanted to make sure we had a pace horse in there to keep it an honest race, but could also do some good in the race. Everything was accomplished today. I think going 1 1/4 back to two turns (Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf) would be good for her, if there's pace like there should be going back to two turns. This filly has proven she can run on firm or bottomless ground like today. She's a very versatile horse and we're lucky to have her in the barn."
Right: Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. celebrates aboard McKulick after the race. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "She really liked the soft ground. I think she appreciated it and the pace. Last time, there was no pace in the race and it cost her that race, I think. Today, the other filly of the same connections [Idea Generation] put an honest pace and a better pace than last time and she really liked it. She always gives me a good kick and she stays on and keeps coming."
Left: Second place finisher Idea Generation walks over before the race. Jockey Florent Geroux said, "She was trying hard. She beat two nice fillies in there, but just got run down by [McKulick]. She finished ahead of Parnac, who won the Flower Bowl, so that was pretty good for a filly who is still eligible for a ‘1X'. It was her first time going this kind of distance and it looked like she liked it. She didn't mind the softer ground. Chad was right that she should appreciate the distance. It looks like he found what she wants to really do."
Right: Third place finisher Sister Otoole walks over before the race. The Graham Motion trainee improved her record to 4 wins, 5 seconds, and 5 thirds in 22 starts, earning $419,470 for owner Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.
John Lopez, NYRA maintenance employee, sweeps the flooded waters from around the winner's circle, down the steps to the paddock, prior to the start off the race card.
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