For publicists, the results from yesterday’s prime time Stars N Stripes holiday program at Belmont Park was a headline writer’s dream:

“Keen Ice stays cool under pressure.” Mind Your Biscuits gets the gravy.” “Practical Joke all business…, etc, etc.”

And if you’ll allow your humble Scribner one: “And the Belmont Derby Award goes to… Oscar Performance.”

Most performances were noteworthy Saturday and business was outstanding, with $19.2 million bet cross-country including $3M on-track. The results included a nice mix of favorites, mid-price winners, and an occasional bomber.

On the two-legged side, from held well with the brilliant Jose Ortiz riding a complete handful of winners, and Joel Rosario with a riding trifecta, a maiden allowances and two stakes.

On the trainer’s side, it was more of the usual suspects; Chad Brown with a pair, including a 1-2-3 sweep in the Belmont Oaks, and Todd Pletcher, who got Keen Ice to win for the first time since he upset American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers.

While the day belong to the two local riding starts, the week belonged to young Tyler Gaffalione who rode a record-equaling seven winners at Gulfstream on Tuesday--more on Tyler later.

I’m sure Chad Brown is right and I’m wrong but in our view Practical Joke is more than a one-turn miler, even if it’s been his game.

There’s nothing wrong with milers--they make the best modern studs, after all—but I’m not convinced nine furlongs is outside his range; possibly even 1-1/4 miles on under the right circumstances.

Practical Joke was a top miler yesterday for sure, with Rosario bringing him out carefully over the heels of rivals for a clear run. The Joker responded with a final quarter-mile burst in 23.61 seconds.

“The pace wasn’t that strong and he had to give six to eight pounds to everyone in the race,” Brown correctly noted.

There was no talk of what’s next but with the same folks owning Cloud Computing, my surmise is that Practical Joke will be Haskell bound while the Preakness winner ships upstate for the Jim Dandy. It’s a plan that makes sense for both horses.

Before the Belmont Sprint Championship, trainer Chad Summers said that he didn’t want the race to be “a heart attack finish” for Mind Your Biscuits. “I want to send a message.”

Message received, loud and clear.

The Biscuit might not be the most brilliant sprinter in America but he just might be the best sprinter in America. His Golden Shaheen in Dubai last March was a defiant much-the-best victory; his Sprint Championship was defiantly dominating.

Rosario didn’t feel he needed to be cute this time, cruising up outside rivals on the turn, taking the lead at headstretch and, at just the moment when it appeared Awesome Slew would pose a serious threat, Rosario got busy and Mind Your Biscuits did the rest.

The four-year-old Posse chestnut stopped the 7-furlong clock at 1:21.84 with a final furlong in 11.94. As Summers said earlier, his colt just might be better at seven-eighths than he is a three-quarters.

And what did the trainer think of his sprinter’s finish? “It makes me think a mile won’t be a problem.” Off yesterday’s run, it would be impossible to disagree.

Mind Your Biscuits will run next on the Travers undercard August 26. “The Forego is our next goal, and hopefully an Eclipse Award as well.” Given Saturday’s effort, those goals are within reach.

The guess is that Chad Brown was thinking why run four fillies in the Belmont Oaks when three will do. So he scratched Fifty Five and watched New Money Honey, Sistercharlie and Uni finish 1-2-3 in the 1-1/4 miles Grade 1 on the Inner turf.

And if it weren’t for Catch a Glimpse last year, the win would have been Brown’s fifth consecutive victory in the former Garden City Breeders’ Cup, nee the Rare Perfume.

"They all ran terrific,” said Brown. “[New Money Honey] got position early and they were moving along pretty good. Javier just backed off a little bit and had first run… My other two horses were two first-time Euros, they broke a little slow and were pretty far back.

Especially the Oaks favorite, Sistercharlie, a private purchase following her second place finish in the G1 Prix Diane just 20 days ago.

Running last of 12 much of the way, she rallied outside into the lane and finished well through the straight, albeit lacking the turn of foot she showed in France. The feeling is that given more time and similar conditions, she will beat her mate when next they meet.

Two things we know for sure about Keen Ice’s upset in the Suburban: Todd Pletcher is correct to target the Jockey Club Gold Cup this fall, 1-1/4 miles being the key, as he stated after the race Saturday, but indicated Sunday morning he will get ready for that with a Whitney run at Saratoga, August 5.

The other is that a slow pace and Jose Ortiz’s hands and quick thinking can wake up any horse.

On paper, Matt King Coal was lone Suburban speed, but does it ever pay to take a horse out of its best game? Isn’t it worth a gamble to find out if speed will come back to you? But Javier Castellano didn’t wait to find out.

Consequently, heavily favored chased the pace throughout, taking the lead prematurely while driving and trying to spot his two major rivals six pounds. It wasn’t the way to go.

And we don’t play the red board here; I mentioned this to a friend not a sixteenth of a mile away from the barrier.

It might not have mattered in the end because Keen Ice ran great, finishing with a flourish, putting some sprint in his step as he crossed the finish line. It’s taken a year or so but it appears that Pletcher’s finally got him figured out.

Given his pedigree, I have no good explanation as to why I questioned Oscar Performance’s ability to get 10 furlongs. Not only did he get his job done while under pressure throughout, he drew off inside the final eighth with exclamation.

Under the circumstances, it was a visually stunning career-best effort. All credit to the horse, Ortiz, and masterful management from Brian Lynch, in the midst of a career year. BTW: the vanquished Irish-bred runnerup, Called To The Bar, is a very nice horse.

A New Riding Star Emerges: While the day belonged to Jose Ortiz, the week belonged to Tyler Gaffalione. In fact, 2017 thus far has belonged to this classy, hard-working young man from Davie, Florida.

As of Sunday morning, Gaffalione is the country’s leading rider with 166 winners, 14 more than runnerup Irad Ortiz Jr.

And for those who may believe he’s beating up on lesser reins-men in SoFla, recall that he rode the Gulfstream winter meet while Ortiz remained at Aqueduct for the winter, which makes comparisons pretty well balanced.

Gaffalione was in New York yesterday riding 83-1 chance Makarios to a sixth place finish in the Belmont Derby, and also finished fourth with his only other mount, a 15-1 chance on the early line.

The third-generation horseman will remain in Florida for now but does plan to ride at Saratoga on Gulfstream’s dark Mondays and Wednesdays and also venture north for the occasional stakes mount.

Aggressive when he needs to be on Gulfstream’s routinely speed kind oval, he rides the turf course with great patience and confidence, showing the kind of coolness and savvy of a rider far beyond his 22 years.

With a little more seasoning, Gaffalione will rank among the nation’s elite. In fact, the young man is practically there right now.