Sunday, October 17 2010

BELMONT PARK NOTES: Sunday, October 17, 2010

ELMONT, N.Y. – Members of the “Todd Squad” continued their preparations for the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs on November 5 and 6 as several turned in workouts over Belmont Park’s training track this weekend.

Quality Road, Todd Pletcher’s hopeful for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, breezed six furlongs in 1:13.46 as he continues to build stamina in the lead up to the 1 ¼-mile race, which will be his first start following an easy victory in the Grade 1, 1 1/8-mile Woodward on September 4.

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Saturday, October 16 2010


ELMONT, N.Y. – Jockey Cornelio Velasquez rode four winners Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park, capping off his day with back-to-back victories in the final two races of the card.

Velasquez, a 42-year-old native of Panama, scored his first win in the fourth race when he piloted favored Nuclear Wayne ($5.10) to a three-quarter length victory in a six-furlong optional claimer, and his second in the seventh race, in which he rallied Dougie ($5.10), another favorite, to a five-length score in a seven-furlong maiden race on the grass.

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ELMONT, N.Y. – Eye of Taurus picked up her second consecutive stakes victory by virtue of her easy triumph in the Grade 3, $100,000 Athenia on Saturday at Belmont Park.

Entering the race off a success in the Revidere at Monmouth on September 11, Eye of Taurus bided her time in fourth through a half in 51.56, began a steady advance midway on the turn, and drew away when roused by Eddie Castro to prevail by three lengths over Mary’s Follies.

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ELMONT, N.Y. – Brethren, a half-brother to this year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver, overcame a slight stumble at the start to debut a winner in today’s second race at Belmont Park.

Part of a coupled entry that was favored at 3-5, Brethren quickly recovered from his bobble and led in the early stages before Backdown rushed up along the inside to grab the lead. Brethren pressed the pacesetter in second through a quarter of 22.82, forged to the front following a half in 45.53, and was driven home by jockey David Cohen to defeat Black N Beauty by a half-length. The final time for six furlongs was a brisk 1:08.88.

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Friday, October 15 2010

BELMONT PARK NOTES: Friday, October 15, 2010

ELMONT, N.Y. – John Kimmel will have a pair of leading contenders on New York Showcase Day as the trainer is scheduled to saddle Friend Or Foe in the $200,000 Empire Classic and Uncle T Seven in the $125,000 Mohawk on October 23.

The Empire Classic at 1 1/8 miles on the main track will be Friend Or Foe’s first start against New York-breds since his victory in the Mike Lee at Belmont in June. The sophomore made two starts at Saratoga following that performance, finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy in July and sixth in the Grade 1 Travers in August.

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ELMONT, N.Y. – A wide-ranging field of ten turf specialists, including a pair of Grade 1 winners who have made 103 starts between them, a French import looking for his first American graded stakes victory, and last year’s defending champion, will gather at Belmont Park Sunday afternoon for the 51st running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Knickerbocker Stakes.

A winner of three Grade 1 races in his lengthy career, Presious Passion will be making his 48th lifetime start in the 1 1/8 mile Knickerbocker, his first appearance at Belmont Park since a sixth-place finish in the 2008 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational over a yielding course.

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Thursday, October 14 2010


ELMONT, N.Y. – Ruthenia has a high bar to clear if she wants to duplicate the success achieved by her full-sister, but an impressive debut at Belmont Park is a pretty good start.

Despite her pedigree, the daughter of Pulpit was dismissed at 20-1 on Monday in a one-mile event on Belmont’s Widener turf course, and the full-sister to the 2005 Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks winner Rutherienne made her doubters pay by drawing off under Alan Garcia’s hand encouragement to win by 3 ½ lengths.

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Wednesday, October 13 2010


ELMONT, N.Y. – Mary’s Follies, off for the past 11 months, will return to the races Saturday at Belmont Park in the Grade 3, $100,000 Athenia for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Purchased by Paul Pompa, Jr. and transferred to the barn of Rick Dutrow, Jr. off a victory in the 2009 Grade 3 Boiling Springs at Monmouth Park, Mary’s Follies finished second in an off-the-turf running of the Grade 3 Lake George at Saratoga and sixth on the dirt in the Grade 2 Fitz Dixon Cotillion at Philadelphia Park in her first two starts for her new connections. Back on grass for the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs in November, the bay daughter of More Than Ready kicked away to a 1 ½-length victory before being sent to the sidelines.

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Tuesday, October 12 2010


ELMONT, N.Y. – Aruna ran her American record to 2-for-2 and earned her first stakes victory Monday afternoon at Belmont Park, rallying through the stretch en route to a three-length win over Bet On the Blue in the $100,000 Pebbles for 3-year-old fillies.

Racing ahead of just one filly as Ultimate Class led the field of eight through an opening half-mile in 47.07, the dark bay daughter of Mr. Greeley began moving up steadily on the turn after being guided to the outside by jockey Ramon Dominguez. Tipped four-wide at the head of the lane, she launched her bid down the middle of the course and took over in the final 200 yards, completing the mile in 1:35.03 over the firm turf course.

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Sunday, October 10 2010

BELMONT PARK NOTES: Sunday, October 10, 2010

ELMONT, N.Y. – It was a happy Sunday in Todd Pletcher’s Belmont Park barn following Uncle Mo’s impressive 4 ¾-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Champagne Stakes and the trainer reported that Repole Stable’s juvenile star emerged from the race in good shape.

“He came out of it well, looked good this morning and the plan is to go to the Breeders’ Cup assuming that he trains the way we expect him to between now and then,” Pletcher said.

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Saturday, October 09 2010


ELMONT, N.Y. – Prince Will I Am picked up the first stakes victory of his career Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park, edging clear after a dramatic last-to-first run in the Grade 1, $250,000 Jamaica Handicap.

Trailing as Citrus Kid led the field of 11 through mild opening fractions of 24.93 and 50.40, Prince Will I Am was carried six wide into the stretch before chiming in with a powerful late run to seize the lead at the sixteenth pole and finish 1 ¼ lengths clear of the pacesetter.

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ELMONT, N.Y. – Heavily favored Uncle Mo lived up to expectations Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park with a 4 ¾-length victory in the Grade 1, $300,000 Champagne Stakes that was as swift as it was authoritative.

Sent off as the 1-5 favorite in the field of six, the 2-year-old son of Indian Charlie dueled for the early lead with longshot I’m Steppin’ It Up through opening fractions of 22.41 and 45.92, and began edging clear after going three-quarters in 1:10.47. Kept to task through the stretch by jockey John Velazquez, Uncle Mo easily opened up on his five rivals, hitting the wire in 1:34.51 for the mile, which tied with Seattle Slew for the second-fastest Champagne at the distance, just a fifth of a second slower than Devil’s Bag’s 1983 stakes record of 1:34 1/5.

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