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2010 Ruffian Invitational and Fourstardave Handicaps

Jockey John Velazquez and Malibu Prayer return after the 2010 Ruffian Invitational

      Fourstardave Handicap
      Curlin Stakes

Date: 08/01/2010

There were 3 stakes races at Saratoga on Sunday afternoon, before a crowd of 22,190 under overcast skies and temperatures around 80. There were 3 stakes races at Saratoga on Sunday afternoon, before a crowd of 22,190 under overcast skies and temperatures around 80.

Unrivaled Belle stumbles at the start of the Ruffian
The highlight race on the card was the $250,000 Ruffian Invitational Handicap (G1) for older fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the main track, and is part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" program, earning the winner a spot in the Ladies Classic. A field of 6 went to post, with La Troienne (G2) winner Unrivaled Belle sent off as the 3-5 favorite after finishing second in the Ogden Phipps Handicap (G1) last out. In to challenge her included 2-1 second choice Malibu Prayer off her win in the Lighthouse Stakes at Monmouth, and 9-2 third choice Tasty Temptation, winner of four straight including the Hill 'N' Dale at Woodbine last out.

Malibu Prayer and Unrivalled Belle bumped at the start, and then jockey John Velazquez sent Malibu Prayer to the front. She set fractions of 23.42, 46.96, and 1:10.47 over the fast track while saving ground down on the rail, with Unrivaled Belle pressing her just to her outside a length behind. Into the stretch, Unrivaled Belle moved up to challenge but Malibu Prayer turned her away, opening up a 2 length lead in mid-stretch through a mile in 1:34.90, and finished 1 3/4 lengths in front in 1:48.14. It was a long 9 3/4 lengths back to late-running 30-1 longest shot Classofsixtythree third.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place  Show
 1   Malibu Prayer      Velazquez     6.70    2.80  2.50
 2   Unrivaled Belle    Desormeaux            2.20  2.10
 4   Classofsixtynine   Castellano                  4.10

Winning Time:  1:48.14

$2 Exacta 1-2                10.40
$2 Trifecta 1-2-4            88.00
Results Chart from DRF.

Left: Malibu Prayer in the winner's circle with owner Edward P. Evans on the left. Tristan Barry, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher said, "She ran a great race. When Unrivaled Belle stumbled at the start, that gave us a bit of an upper hand. She was able to get into a rhythm and just took it from there."

Right: Malibu Prayer returns after the race.

Left: Malibu Prayer in the paddock before the race. Her jockey John Velazquez said, "I figured I would let her break and do it nice and easy, whatever she was comfortable with. When I asked her at the 1/4 pole, she responded very well. She did it very easily."

Right: Malibu Prayer heads out for the post parade.

Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Unrivaled Belle behind the starting gate. Her trainer Bill Mott said, "She took a pretty good shot at the start. It was decent enough where she had to recover from it. We might have been 1/2 length closer to (Malibu Prayer) going into the turn instead of having daylight in between us. We might have been able to put a little pressure on her earlier than we did. As for the rest of the trip, it was fine." Jockey Kent Desormeaux added, "She overextended herself at the start and grabbed her quarter. We had dead aim at the winner, but the winner ran too fast for us at the end."

Right: Third place finisher Classofsixtythree heads out for the post parade. Her trainer Gary Contessa said, "I didn't have any illusions - I just wanted to get a piece. What Castellano did for her pedigree is excellent. The connections have to be thrilled. Finishing third in a Grade 1 will really help her when it comes time to send her to the breeding shed." Jockey Javier Castellano added, "There was a lot of speed in the race, and we were able to take advantage of it. I just took my time and waited. Gary told me not to hurry. She made one quick move at the 1/4 pole and she was able to get up in the last jump for third."

Fourth place finisher Starship Angel heads out for the post parade.

Get Stormy leads down the stretch in the Fourstardave

The $150,000 Fourstardave Handicap (G2) featured older horses going 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf course. Get Stormy, winner of the Elkwood at Monmouth before disappointing in fourth in the King Edward (G2) at Woodbine, was sent off as the 3-2 favorite in the field of 7 over 7-2 second choice Whatsthescript, third in the Battlefield at Monmouth last out, and 9-2 third choice Public Speaker, second in both the Opening Verse and the Firecracker Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Get Stormy stumbled at the start but was quickest away, sent to the early lead by jockey Javier Castellano. He set fractions of 23.65, 47.01, and 1:10.05 while 1 1/2 lengths in front of 5-1 fourth choice Pinckney Hill and Public Speaker who stalked in second and third respectively. Entering the lane, Pinckney Hill tired and dropped from contention, allowing Get Stormy to open up a 2 1/2 length advantage at the 1/8 pole. Public Speaker gradually gained on the pacesetter late but to no avail as Get Stormy cruised under the line 1 1/4 lengths in front in 1:39.09. It was just a nose back to late-running 20-1 Zifzaf third.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place  Show
 2   Get Stormy         Castellano    5.10    3.10  2.80
 8   Public Speaker     Albarado              4.10  3.50
 4   Zifzaf             Hill                        6.90

Winning Time:  1:39.09

$2 Exacta 2-8                19.80
$2 Trifecta 2-8-4           174.00
$2 Superfecta 2-8-4-3       722.00
Results Chart from DRF.

Left: Get Stormy in the winner's circle. His trainer Tom Bush said, "We got the kind of course he has proven himself on. He was really kind of rattling down the backside, and I wasn't sure if he'd have enough left. The fractions were pretty legit. This horse really is something special. He was a very light and narrow horse as a baby and he grew into such a strong, big horse. We want to sit down and back up from the Breeders' Cup and figure out what he needs to do between now and then."

Right: Get Stormy heads out for the post parade. His jockey Javier Castellano said, "My horse likes to be close to the pace - if he isn't on the lead he can be second or third, but he loves to go on the lead. Turning for home, everybody thought I didn't have a horse and they were asking, and he took off again. He's a nice horse, a very special horse."

Left: Second place finisher Public Speaker gets saddled in the paddock. The 5-1 fourth choice stalked the pace in 3rd early, 2 lengths behind under jockey Robby Albarado, then passed the tiring Pinckney Hill on the turn to get second beaten 1 1/4 lengths. Albarado pulled him up and unsaddled on the backstretch after galloping out and the horse was vanned off. The Ken McPeek trainee improved his record to 8 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds in 21 starts, earning $352,522 for owner Peter Karahalios.

Right: Third place finisher Zifzaf returns after the race. The 20-1 longest shot raced in fourth 3 lengths back under jockey Channing Hill, came out three wide for the drive and finished a nose short of second money. The James Toner trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 0 seconds, and 3 thirds in 9 starts, earning $109,900 for owner AJ Suited Racing Stable.

Winslow Homer wins the Curlin Stakes

A field of 6 three-year-olds went 1 1/8 miles on the main track in the $75,000 Curlin Stakes. Holy Bull (G3) winner Winslow Homer was sent off as the 6-5 favorite off a third place finish in the Iowa Derby (G3). Also in the field included 5-2 second choice Winaholic in his stakes debut after finishing third in allowance company, and 3-1 third choice So Elite, winner of the Charley Barley at Woodbine last out.

Winslow Homer and 5-1 Westshore battled for the lead through the early stages in 23.63, 48.14, and 1:13.41. On the turn, the field bunched up with 5 horses within a length of the front. However, Winslow Homer, when asked by jockey Robby Albarado, quickly broke free from the pack, opening up a 5 length lead in mid-stretch through 1 mile in 1:37.22, and drew off to win by 9 lengths over Westshore in a time of 1:49.69 over the fast track. It was another 3/4 length back to Winaholic third.

Results Chart from DRF.

Left: Winslow Homer in the winner's circle. His trainer Anthony Dutrow said, "That earns him a start in the Travers. That's what we were looking for. He was impressive and scooted away from them, and he loved the distance. We're hoping he goes into the Travers as well as he did today. He's bred to go the distance and I think that he proved today that the distance will be a friend."

Right: Winslow Homer heads out for the post parade. His jockey Robby Albarado said, "It was encouraging that he took off and got away from (the field) and he sprinted home. He came home nice. I watched his replays and he was impressive in all of his races. Today, I shoved him into that first turn a little bit more than I probably normally would have but, at that point I was able to dictate the whole race from that standpoint. On the backside, we dropped him down a little and got a slower second 1/4 than the first and that's probably why when they got to the 1/4 pole he was able to go on. He's a nice horse and I'm just glad I got to ride him."

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