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Belmont Derby Day
Le Grand Cru returns after winning the 2009 Kelso Handicap
There were three stakes races originally scheduled for the turf on Sunday at Belmont Park, but thanks to the heavy rains that soaked the racing surfaces all day Saturday, the turf events were moved to the main track, resulting in each race being downgraded by the Graded Stakes Committee pending review, and both Breeders' Cup Challenge races losing their automatic entry provision since they were prep races for turf events. The 4,562 spectators on hand enjoyed much better weather, with clear skies and the temperature around 70 degrees.
The entire field in the stretch with Le Grand Cru out front.
Yield Bogey was sent to the front exiting the chute by jockey Jean-Luc Samyn and he set early fractions of 24.84 and 48.60 down the backstretch while a length in front of Le Grand Cru who in turn was 2 lengths in front of Ready's Echo. Entering the stretch, Le Grand Cru passed the tiring Yield Bogey on the outside.
Ready's Echo also passed the tired pacesetter but Le Grand Cru had already opened up a 2 length lead, easily holding off Ready's Echo to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:37.36. It was 21 1/4 lengths more to Yield Bogey third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Le Grand Cru Lezcano 4.50 - - 4 Ready's Echo Leparoux - - 5 Yield Bogey Samyn - Winning Time: 1:37.36Results Chart
Right: Le Grand Cru in the post parade.
Le Grand Cru in the paddock before the race. His jockey Jose Lezcano said, "It was an easy trip in a three-horse race. He broke sharp...and I thought the outside was better. When I asked him, he gave me everything he had."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Ready's Echo in the post parade. The 3-5 favorite broke slowly and trailed early under Julien Leparoux, came out 4 wide into the lane but was no match for the winner. The Todd Pletcher trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 4 seconds, and 4 thirds in 13 starts, earning $337,988 for owner Let's Go Stable.
Right: Third place finisher Yield Bogey returns after the race.
Fuzzy Britches opened up a 2 1/2 length lead exiting the chute through an opening quarter in 24.30 before Tapitsfly moved up along the inside to challenge. The pair dueled into the stretch through fractions of 48.70 and 1:14.42. Dad's Crazy, who sat back in third the whole way, came out wide into the lane and easily passed the frontrunners, drawing clear in the stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Tapitsfly in 1:40.04 . It was just a neck back to Fuzzy Britches third.
Left: Dad's Crazy in the winner's circle with trainer Todd Pletcher on the left. Pletcher said, "It was too good an opportunity to pass up when the field scratched down. She may be a better filly on turf but she had trained well on dirt. It worked out well. We'll look for something for her towards the end of the meet."
Right: Dad's Crazy in the post parade. Her jockey Julien Leparoux said, "Todd told me in the paddock that she's a difficult horse to get to relax, but she relaxed very well for me today and finished well. It was perfect sitting right behind the other two horses today. The main goal was to get her to relax and keep her covered up. I think she will run on anything."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Tapitsfly in the post parade. The 3-5 favorite battled for the lead early under jockey Robby Albarado, but was no match for the winner, beaten 3 1/4 lengths. The Dale Romans trainee improved her record to 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third in 5 starts, earning $128,142 for owner-breeder Frank L. Jones Jr.
Right: Third place finisher Fuzzy Britches in the paddock before the race.
9-1 longest shot Bricklayer dueled on the front end with Western Flyer down the backstretch through fractions of 23.85, 47.89, and 1:12.95 over the good track, with Chairman Now sitting a length behind in third. Entering the stretch, Bricklayer tired allowing Western Flyer to inherit the lead briefly, but Eskendereya, who was last early, came through between horses at the top of the lane and drew off to win by 7 1/4 lengths in 1:37.85. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Chairman Now third.
Left: Eskendereya in the winner's circle with trainer Todd Pletcher on the left. Pletcher said, "It was a very good effort. The horse had trained very well and we knew he was an improving horse. He got excluded from a maiden race, so we decided to take a shot in the stake and then when it came off we had a decision to make, but we felt like the horse had improved in his training recently on the dirt and felt like it was worth taking a shot. I was particularly pleased with the way he finished up and the way he galloped out, I'd say that he's typical of the Giant's Causeways and probably good on any surface. We'll talk to the owners about his next start; we have a lot of options."
Right: Eskendereya returns after the race. His jockey Javier Castellano said, "With the small field, Todd told me in the paddock to take my time. I had a perfect trip today. On the turn, when I saw the horses splitting, I asked my horse and he responded."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Western Flyer returns after the race. The 9-5 favorite pressed the pace from the outside for 5/8 mile, gained a short lead into the stretch but was no match for the winner. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee improved his record to 1 win, 1 second, and 1 third in 3 starts, earning $58,480 for owner Cam Allard.
Right: Third place finisher Chairman Now in the post parade.
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