Saturday, October 04 2008
BELMONT PARK NOTES, Friday, OCtober 3, 2008
The upcoming three-day Columbus Day weekend at Belmont Park features a trio of stakes races for fillies and mares on the turf, beginning with the 31st running of the Grade 3, $100,000-added Athenia Handicap at a mile and one sixteenth on Saturday, October 11.
Heading the field is Stuart S. Janney III’s multiple-graded stakes winner, Criminologist, who was up in the final strides to take the Grade 3 Noble Damsel Handicap over a soft turf last month.
Friday, October 03 2008
TWO-YEAR-OLDS + TALENT + LUCK = WIN AND YOU’RE IN
There are those who would rather be lucky than good, but Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel doesn’t subscribe to that theory – at least as far as Vineyard Haven is concerned. In a race that had more trouble lines than a country-western song, the two-year-old son of Lido Palace proved to be both lucky and good in winning the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful at Saratoga Race Course.
“He’s a good horse,” said Frankel of Vineyard Haven, one of only two horses in the eight-horse field to have a trouble-free trip en route to his front-running, 2 ¼-length victory. “I hope he’s a very good horse.”
Actin Good returned from a five-month layoff to race in the Grade 3 Iselin on Aug. 16 at Monmouth Pa
It has been a strange journey so far for IEAH Stables and WinStar Farm’s Court Vision, and he is still only a three-year-old.
Winner of Aqueduct’s Grade 2 Remsen last November, he embarked on the Kentucky Derby trail in February with a pair of third-place finishes in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and Aqueduct’s Grade 1 Wood Memorial. He then ran 13th in the Kentucky Derby after a troubled trip and was given time off.
Returning at the end of May, the Gulch colt showed interest in his turf debut at Colonial Downs and followed that effort with a nose loss to Gio Ponti in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs, also on the grass.
Thursday, October 02 2008
CORDERO, DAY, PINCAY COME TO BELMONT ON BC LEGENDS TOUR
Legendary Hall of Fame jockeys Angel Cordero Jr., Pat Day and Laffit Pincay Jr. will be at Belmont Park on Thursday, October 2, as the Breeders’ Cup Legends Tour makes the second stop on its multi-city tour.
The three riders were first, second and third in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic at Hollywood Park in 1984, with Day and Wild Again winning in a tight three-horse photo finish over Pincay’s mount, Gate Dancer, and Cordero on Slew o’Gold.
A three-time Eclipse Award winner, Cordero won four Breeders’ Cup races, three Kentucky Derbys, two Preakness Stakes, one Belmont Stakes and was leading rider at Saratoga 13 times.
Monday, September 29 2008
VELAZQUEZ JOINS 4,000-WIN CLUB
Jockey John Velazquez reached a historic milestone at Belmont Park on Sunday afternoon when he guided One Fein Stable’s Rogue Agent to a six-length victory in the muddy first race for his 4,000th career victory. Trained by Peter Walder, Rogue Agent returned $8.60.
“This was probably the hardest 10 winners of my career,” Velazquez said. “It feels great to put it behind me and move on to other things. As you closer to a big number, it seems harder and harder to get there. I had a great weekend and rode some really nice horses. Every one of my wins was memorable to me. Every one counts to get to 4,000. This was a $16,000 claimer and it means a lot to me, making 4,000. Every one of them is special.”
BELMONT PARK NOTES, Sunday, September 28, 2008
Next Saturday, October 4, two-year-olds will be featured at Belmont Park.
Expected for the 137th running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Champagne at a mile are A.P. Cardinal, Break Water Edison, Cribnote, Girolamo, Gone Astray, Hello Broadway, Munnings, Reynaldothewizard, Ventana and Vineyard Haven. Questionable is Flying Pegasus.
Vineyard Haven, a son of Lido Palace, won Saratoga’s Grade 1, seven-furlong Hopeful on September 1 for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who is also part-owner.
That race was practically gift-wrapped for Vineyard Haven, as Cribnote went extremely wide at the quarter-pole. Still, Cribnote, a son of Read the Footnotes, managed to hold second over Munnings.
TAM LIN RUNS AWAY WITH KELSO HANDICAP
By Francis LaBelle Jr.
Godolphin Stable’s Tam Lin (GB) shook clear of Forefathers half-way through Sunday afternoon’s 28th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Kelso Handicap, and then flagged his tail at the field as he sped home to a 4 ¼-length victory in the mile race on the Widener Turf Course.
The win capped a strong Godolphin showing at Belmont Park this weekend. Saturday, Godolphin won the Grade 1 Beldame when Cocoa Beach (CHI) upset favored Ginger Punch.
Second in the Grade 3 Poker to Kip Deville here on July 13, Tam Lin disappointed as the favorite when he finished ninth in the Grade 2, seven-furlong Play King at Woodbine on August 23.
Saturday, September 27 2008
CURLIN RACES INTO HISTORY IN THE JOCKEY CLUB GOLD CUP
By Jenny Kellner
Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin rewrote racing history on a soggy Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park, becoming the first American horse to break the $10 million barrier with a repeat victory in the 90th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational.
With the winner’s purse of $450,000, Curlin’s lifetime earnings blossomed to $10,246,800, breaking Cigar’s 12-year-old record of $9,999,815.
“I am very excited and very proud of everybody involved,” said trainer Steve Asmussen of the chestnut colt. “Fifteen races and he’s won more than $10 million. We had two back-to-back $5 million years. I can’t say how proud I am to be part of what has just happened. To make history – the all-time money-winning horse in North America – is very special. For him to be able to carry the weight of expectation, I’m very proud.”
GRAND COUTURIER SURVIVES OBJECTION IN HIRSCH TURF CLASSIC
By Francis LaBelle Jr.
Marc Keller’s Grand Couturier (GB) withstood a claim of foul from the connections of runner-up Interpatation Saturday afternoon and his 10 ¼-length victory in the 32nd running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic was made official, officially making the 5-year-old son of Grand Lodge a legitimate contender for the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on October 25.
On a day marked by upsets in three previous Grade 1 races at Belmont Park, Grand Couturier would have none of that nonsense in the mile and a half turf feature over the yielding Widener Turf Course.
23-1 BLACK SEVENTEEN STUNS IN VOSBURGH
By Jenny Kellner
Battling saddlecloth-to-saddlecloth with Fabulous Strike through the final yards, a determined Black Seventeen, the longest shot in the field at 23-1, got a head in front at the wire to take the 69th running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh over a sloppy Belmont Park racetrack.
Ridden by Clinton Potts and trained by Brian Koriner, the California-based 4-year-old son of Is It True It sat just behind the leaders as Fabulous Strike, J Be K and First Defence wrangled through an opening quarter in 21.75. With the half going in 44.31, Black Seventeen launched his bid on the outside and collared Fabulous Strike in midstretch to prevail in 1:09.77 for the six furlongs.
DYNAFORCE IS DYNAMITE IN FLOWER BOWL INVITATIONAL
By Jenny Kellner
Three months ago, John A. Chandler’s Dynaforce overcame everything but rising turf star Mauralakana in the Grade 2 New York Handicap at Belmont Park, finishing second by a neck in her very first start in the United States.
On a muggy Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park, the 5-year-old mare turned the tables on Mauralakana as she led almost every step over a yielding turf course to post a four-length upset victory in the 31st edition of the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational.
COCOA BEACH ENDS GINGER PUNCH’S STREAK
By Francis LaBelle Jr.
Godolphin Stable’s Cocoa Beach has raced in her native Chile and in the Mideast, but apparently, she has found a home in New York.
Fresh off a dominant win at Saratoga Race Course on August 29, the 4-year-old Doneraile Court filly collared defending Eclipse champion handicap mare Ginger Punch Saturday afternoon and went on to a half-length victory in 70th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Beldame Stakes for fillies and mares at nine furlongs.
The threat of serious rain cancelled racing at Belmont Park on Friday, and the main track opened on Saturday as “muddy/sealed.” By post time for the Beldame at 3:40 p.m., the track was sloppy, and the scratch of Unbridled Belle left the Beldame with a field of four.