Thursday, July 09 2009


GIO PONTI STRETCHES OUT IN MAN o’WAR


ELMONT, N.Y. – Saturday’s 51st running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Man o’War has drawn able invaders from across the United States and Europe, but local turf talent is coming up strong in the 1 3/8-mile contest over Belmont Park’s inner turf course. Run as the day’s seventh race, the Man o’War is the opening leg of The New York Racing Association, Inc.’s $350,000 guaranteed late pick four on races 7-10.

Castleton Lyons Farm’s Gio Ponti enters the race off back-to-back Grade 1 scores for trainer Christophe Clement in the Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park on June 6 and the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap at Santa Anita in March.





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Tuesday, July 07 2009


BELMONT PARK NOTES: Monday, July 06, 2009


ELMONT, N.Y. – Rachel Alexandra put in her first workout this morning over the Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga Race Course since winning the Grade 1 Mother Goose in a record-setting performance eight days ago.

Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen, and his lead pony Dakota guided Rachel Alexandra, with exercise rider Dominic Terry aboard, onto the training track at 5:50 a.m. The sensational three-year-old filly owned by Jess Jackson breezed four furlongs in 50.67 seconds over a track labeled as “fast.” Rachel Alexandra took the first quarter in :25 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:05.





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Monday, July 06 2009


MUNNINGS OVERPOWERS ELDERS IN TOM FOOL


ELMONT, N.Y. – Munnings took command at the top of the stretch after a rail-skimming move under jockey John Velazquez and ran off to an impressive victory over three rivals Sunday afternoon in the 35th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap at Belmont Park.

The three-year-old son of 2004 champion sprinter Speightstown, only the fourth sophomore to win the race, sat behind early fractions of 22.10 and 44.47 set by Riley Tucker, then darted through an opening on the inside to grab the lead and rolled home 2¼ lengths clear of the pacesetter.





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Sunday, July 05 2009


DRY MARTINI SHAKES UP SUBURBAN HANDICAP


ELMONT, N.Y. -- Dry Martini became a millionaire at Belmont Park Saturday afternoon, rallying from last to post a two-length upset of favored Asiatic Boy in the 123rd running of the Grade 2, $400,000 Suburban Handicap.

Under Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, who won the Grade 2 Dwyer earlier on the Independence Day card, the 6-year-old gelded son of Slew Gin Fizz sat behind fractions of 47.63 and 1:11.39 set by longshot Finallymadeit, moved up on the turn, then split horses and came fastest of all for the upset as he covered the 1¼ miles in 2:00.80.





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CAT MOVES STAYS UNBEATEN WITH PRIORESS VICTORY


ELMONT, N.Y. – Cat Moves, ridden by Ramon Dominguez and trained by Anthony Dutrow, made a strong late move to corral stablemate Light Green by ¾-lengths in the 62nd running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Prioress at Belmont Park on Saturday, July 4. The three-year-old filly finished the six furlongs on Belmont’s main track in 1:08.65.

Light Green, ridden by John Velazquez and trained by Todd Pletcher, sat second early behind the pacesetter Heat Ashley, who went a quarter in 21.56 and a half in 44.01. Light Green took over the lead as they entered the stretch, grudgingly giving way to her stablemate in the final 100 yards, but finishing 2-1/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Reforestation.





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KENSEI POWERS AWAY IMPRESSIVELY IN DWYER


ELMONT, N.Y. – Kensei, ridden by Edgar Prado and trained by Steve Asmussen, made a powerful move on the far turn en route to an impressive 3-1/4 length victory in the 92nd running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer at Belmont Park on Saturday, July 4. The three-year-old colt finished the 1-1/8 mile distance on Belmont’s main track in 1:40.47.

Warrior’s Reward, the heavy 4/5 favorite, ridden by Calvin Borel, had a slow start before rallying late to finish a well-beaten third, 2-1/4 lengths behind second-place Convocation.





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NYRA MATCHES MONEY RAISED DURING CALVIN BOREL AUTOGRAPH SIGNING


ELMONT, N.Y. – Fans lined up at Belmont Park Saturday afternoon to get autographs from jockey Calvin Borel, resulting in more than $4,000 being raised for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).

The proceeds from the signing, with autographs going for $10 each, totaled $2,170, and The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced it will match that number for a total of $4,340 going to the PDJF.





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Friday, July 03 2009


BELMONT PARK NOTES: Friday, July 3, 2009


ELMONT, N.Y. – Dancing Forever, third in an allowance in his 2009 debut on May 31, is heading into the Grade 1, $500,000 Man o’ War on July 11 at Belmont Park in good order as Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey contemplates a schedule that will bring the 6-year-old horse back to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita.

“I thought he ran good the other day,” said McGaughey. “He was always a big horse and it took him a while to get things together in his career. He had a break over the winter, and whatever bumps and bruises he had, had a chance to go away.”





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PLETCHER HOPING RECENT HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF IN THE TOM FOOL


ELMONT, N.Y. – In 34 previous editions of the Tom Fool Handicap, three-year-olds have been victorious only three times, most recently in 2000 when Todd Pletcher saddled Trippi to a 4½-length victory in the seven-furlong race.

Sunday, Pletcher is hoping history repeats itself when he sends out Michael B. Tabor’s sophomore star Munnings against four older horses in the Grade 2, $200,000 sprint at Belmont Park.





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Thursday, July 02 2009


CALVIN BOREL AUTOGRAPH SIGNING SATURDAY AT BELMONT PARK


ELMONT, N.Y. – Jockey Calvin Borel, regular rider of Preakness and Mother Goose winner Rachel Alexandra, will autograph photos at Belmont Park on Saturday, July 4 from 2-2:45 p.m.

Borel will sign 8x10 glossy, color copies of Rachel Alexandra from the June 27 Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes, a race in which the Steve Asmussen-trained filly shattered two stakes records – margin of victory and final time. The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro defeated her two rivals by a 19¼-length margin, considerably more than the 13½-length victory achieved by the great Ruffian in 1975, and completed the race in 1:46.33, besting Lakeway’s previous record of 1:46.58 set in 1994.





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DWYER, SUBURBAN PROMISE FIERCE COMPETITION


ELMONT, N.Y. – Like the Grade 1 Prioress, both the Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes and the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap on Saturday’s Fourth of July card at Belmont Park have much to offer in terms of storied history and fierce competition in their respective renewals.

Saturday’s 93rd running of the Dwyer Stakes for three-year-olds comes with its own unique story. Named for Mike and Phil Dwyer – whose Dwyer Brothers Stable campaigned five Belmont Stakes winners in the 1880s – the $200,000, 1 1/16 mile Dwyer will kick off The New York Racing Association, Inc.’s regular Saturday afternoon $350,000 guaranteed late Pick 4 in the eighth race.





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FLEET FIELD OF NINE ASSEMBLED FOR GRADE 1 PRIORESS


ELMONT, N.Y. – The only Grade 1 six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies in the United States, the $300,000 Prioress at Belmont Park has long been a showcase for some of the fastest fillies on the planet, from Ta Wee in 1969 to Safely Kept in 1989, Xtra Heat in 2001 to Indian Blessing in 2008.

The 62nd edition, part of a trio of graded stakes to be run on Saturday, July 4, including the Grade 2, $400,000 Suburban Handicap and the Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer, shows why it deserves its Grade 1 status, having attracted a field of nine outstanding fillies headed by Arnold Zechter’s Grade 1 Acorn winner Gabby’s Golden Gal.





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